What causes a vaginal yeast infection? Well, I tell my patients that anything that keeps the vaginal area wet, warm, and dark can allow the overgrowth of yeast. So we have healthy organisms in our body, all over our body, including in our vagina. So in our vagina is healthy bacteria and healthy yeast and healthy lactobacillus, and other things that keep that environment in balance. But if the environment gets out of balance for one reason or another, the yeast has an opportunity to overgrow and there can be an overgrowth of candida albicans and an overgrowth of yeast that ultimately leads to symptoms and leads to pathology and something that needs to be treated. What can cause or contribute to that overgrowth? Well, if someone has immunocompromise or they have diabetes, or they don’t have really good blood sugar control, the yeast will thrive in an environment that has a high sugar.
So those would be reasons that you may get recurrent yeast infections because of a high blood sugar, or because of diabetes not being kept in check or because of immunocompromise or an immune system that doesn’t function as robustly. And those things could contribute to an increase in yeast overgrowth. Another thing would be use of antibiotics. So antibiotics will kill off bacteria, the bad bacteria in an infection that we’re trying to get rid of, but they also kill off the good bacteria. And if good bacteria are taken away from that healthy environment in the vagina, then the yeast is allowed to overgrow. So antibiotics can sometimes contribute to a vaginal yeast infection. So you may have antibiotic course and then find that you get vaginal discharge, white discharge, itching burning, and even some redness in the vaginal area. And you definitely need to see your doctor to have that alleviated for people who sit around in a wet bathing suit or wet workout clothes, anything that increases the sweat and the wetness in the vaginal area may allow that candida or that yeast to take hold and increase the risk of infection. So those are some of the main reasons that you may be more prone to having a vaginal yeast infection.