Staying in wet clothes too long can lead to one of the most irritating health issues a woman can experience — a vaginal yeast infection.
It’s a typical busy day. Maybe you really pushed yourself and worked up a great sweat at the gym. Then you ran a few errands in your sweaty gear before going home to shower. No big deal, right? For many women, it could be a very big deal.
Staying in wet clothes too long can lead to one of the most irritating health issues a woman can experience — a vaginal yeast infection. It’s an unpleasant, but very common fungal infection that just about every woman will experience at some point.
A yeast infection causes inflammation of the vagina and vulva, which can cause intense itching, redness, soreness and a burning sensation during urination or sex. It commonly produces a thick, white, odorless discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Symptoms may be mild to moderate, but they can get worse if left untreated.
“Your vagina has a natural balance of yeast and bacteria,” said Rachel Alexander, APRN, nurse practitioner with Norton eCare. “When that balance is disrupted, you get an overgrowth of a type of fungus called candida, which can lead to an infection. Warm, dark, moist conditions — like a wet bathing suit or jogging pants — are where this overgrowth thrives.”
Yeast infection risk factors and treatment
Women may be more at risk for a yeast infection due to various factors, including:
- Use of antibiotics that can kill good bacteria in the vagina and create an imbalance of yeast cells
- Increased estrogen levels (from pregnancy or hormonal birth control)
- Compromised immune system
- Poorly controlled diabetes and blood sugar
A yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease, however it can be spread through sexual contact. You do not have to be sexually active to get a yeast infection.
Unfortunately, women who have had a yeast infection in the past are more likely to get another one.
According to Rachel, yeast infections can usually be treated with antifungal medication, either in a cream or pill form.
“Many times treatment can be prescribed quickly through our eCare service,” she said. “We offer an easy, convenient way to get fast relief from the maddening symptoms of a yeast infection.”
Norton eCare can be accessed from a mobile device (using the MyChart app) or computer via MyNortonChart. Opt for a secure video visit or an eVisit, which involves filling out a symptom-specific online questionnaire. If symptoms don’t improve within several days of treatment, you may need to see a health provider for an exam. Symptoms that are far outside the norm of a typical yeast infection probably cannot be treated via Norton eCare.
Yeast infection prevention
Most women who have dealt with the frustration of a yeast infection would probably tell you to focus on prevention rather than treatment.
Get out of wet clothes immediately. Wear swim or workout attire made of moisture-wicking material, which helps moisture evaporate more quickly.
Avoid wearing too-tight underwear, especially during the summer months. Choose cotton underwear and loose pants, skirts or dresses instead. Stay out of hot tubs, and don’t take very hot baths. Avoid antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary.
With a few simple precautions, a yeast infection doesn’t have to get in the way of your next spin class or a refreshing dip in your favorite pool.