Women who have chronic yeast infections throughout the year should be under the care of a doctor. A chronic yeast infection is defined as a vaginal discharge with vulvar itching that occurs four or more times a year. Chronic yeast infections may be the sign of something more serious like diabetes or an immune system deficiency.
Diabetes and abnormal glucose tolerance are major risk factors for chronic yeast infections. Oral contraceptives are also a risk factor, as well as the use of steroids or antibiotic therapy.
Sometimes other vaginal infections masquerade as, or occur at the same time as yeast infections. Ask your doctor about the possibility of your having an infection that is not related to yeast. There are two important tests that doctors run to diagnose a chronic yeast infection. One is the wet prep, or looking at secretions under the microscope. The other involves taking the secretions and doing a culture of them to see if the yeast grows out.
For patients who have documented chronic yeast infections, there are several treatment plans. One is maintenance therapy, where the patient is given a prescription that is used daily for three to six months. There are other treatments that can be used once or twice a week for three to six months. Each patient with a chronic yeast infection is a little bit different, so doctors tailor the therapy to the individual patient’s needs. Many women will need to take it once a month with their menses, as hormone changes are a common trigger for yeast infections.
To help prevent yeast infections from recurring, try the following:
- Don’t use douches
- Change tampons and pads often during your period
- Don’t wear tight underwear or clothes made of synthetic fibers
- Wear cotton underwear and panty hose with a cotton crotch
- Change out of wet swimsuits and exercise clothes as soon as possible.
Some holistic health practitioners believe that eating yogurt or drinking buttermilk every day can help prevent yeast infections from recurring. The live bacteria or active culture is said to help balance the fungal growth in the affected area.
Another popular home remedy for chronic yeast infection is to put 10-15 drops of grapefruit seed extract into your morning juice every day for a month. Some also recommend a daily dose of olive leaf extract together with the grapefruit seed extract.
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It is import to remember that chronic yeast infections may be caused by a serious underlying health problem. Only your doctor can help you determine the cause of your chronic yeast infections.
Chronic Yeast Infection: A yeast infection that occurs four or more times a year.