Do you really know how to keep your vagina safe from infections this summer? We break down the myths and the facts.
Yeast infections are never fun, especially not during the summer months when you’re headed off on vacation or already crabby from the heat.
Like it or not, now is they key time to stay on guard so you’ll know how to best ward off unwanted infections. “We do see slight peaks in yeast infections during the summer months,” says OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson, the spokeswoman for Monistat’s It’s Time For TMI women’s health information hub. “That's because yeast wants to grow in moist, dark places.”
Although yeast infections aren’t always reoccurring, they can be common. “Three out of four women get yeast infections and over 50 percent do not know what to do when they get them,” says Masterson when sharing results of a recent survey conducted by Monistat. “They don't know what causes it. There are a lot of myths out there.” Masterson, who you may have seen on CBS’s The Doctors, says the new website home for It’s Time For TMI aims to help dispel many common myths about a woman’s vaginal discomfort and treatment.
We asked Masterson to break down fact from the fiction to help you (and your vagina) have the healthiest, happy summer possible. Take notes!
Sex Does NOT Cause Yeast Infections
“Sex in itself is not going to create a yeast infection,” says Masterson. “It’s definitely not sexually transmitted. Although, while you're being treated for a yeast infection, you should refrain from sex, just so you get the full treatment, of course.”
Clean Panties and Dry Swimsuits Are Your Friend
How long is too long to wear moist or sweaty panties? “There's no timing, but honestly, the shortest time possible is best when you’re exercising,” adds Masterson. “I would tell my patients, as soon as you’re done exercising, get the sweat off. It's ideal to take a shower and then put your clothes on, but if there's no shower there, change your panties, and just get the sweat, the perspiration, and the moisture off your body. The same goes with a wet bathing suit.”
Your Diet Isn’t The Problem
Many women commonly believe that certain foods can cause or cure a yeast infection, says Masterson. But that’s false. “A lot of women use home remedies like eating garlic and yogurt, and some will even put yogurt in vaginally,” adds Masterson. “Those aren't cures.”
Don’t Self Diagnose
Although yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter medicine, you should be sure of what you’re treating the first time you experience any discomfort. “When you get your first yeast infection, you want to go to the doctor,” says Masterson. “You want to make sure you know what it is. The three most common types of vaginitis are yeast infections, trichomoniasis, which is an STD, and bacterial vaginosis (over growth of organisms normally present). You want to know because you're going to treat them each differently.”
Know Your pH Levels
Masterson when women begin to feel discomfort down below, they can use a home kit to test the pH level of their vaginal secretion, which will help to determine their next move. “When the vagina’s natural balance of bacteria is disrupted, yeast can overgrow” says Masterson. “Measuring the pH level at home can help you tell if it's a bacterial infection versus a yeast infection. If you know it's a yeast infection, you can head to the drug store go get your cure.”
For more information about the It’s Time For TMI campaign, click here.