Among the strategies that may help women prevent vaginal yeast infections are:

  • Keep the external genital area clean and dry.
  • Avoid irritating soaps (including bubble bath) and vaginal sprays.
  • Change tampons and sanitary napkins frequently.
  • Wear loose cotton (rather than nylon) underwear that doesn't trap moisture.
  • After swimming, change quickly into your dry clothing instead of staying in your wet bathing suit for prolonged periods.
  • If you are diabetic, try to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your doctor and never take them for longer than your doctor directs. In addition to destroying bacteria that cause illness, antibiotics kill off the "good" bacteria that normally live in the vagina. Without the normal lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina, yeast cells can take over and grow out of control. Eating yogurt regularly may help to maintain or restore a normal balance.
  • If you tend to get yeast infections whenever you take an antibiotic, ask your doctor to prescribe a vaginal antifungal agent as well.
  • Wipe from the front to the rear (away from the vagina) after a bowel movement or urination.
  • Don't use douches. Douching with vinegar or other chemicals has been shown to increase the rate of vaginal yeast infections because it alters the vaginal bacterial balance.

Copyright 2003

National Women's Health Resource Center Inc. (NWHRC).