Yeast is found in the body and on the skin. When it grows out of control, it causes a yeast infection. Yeast infections are among the most common medical issues. Vaginal yeast infections are one of the most common feminine health issues and can be treated easily. Pregnancy, diabetes, and stress are the major factors contributing to yeast overgrowth in the vagina. Moreover, women taking corticosteroids, contraceptive pills, and antibiotics are more susceptible to vaginal yeast infections. (1)
The fungus Candida albicans causes most vaginal yeast infections. The Candida fungus is a naturally occurring organism in the vaginal region. Lactobacillus bacteria regulate the development of this fungus. However, if your system is out of balance, these bacteria will not function properly. This imbalance leads to symptoms of vaginal yeast infection. In women with vaginal yeast infections, redness and swelling in the vagina or labia and surrounding tissues are common. In addition, certain infections can cause severe itching or burning, resulting in sexual discomfort and vaginal soreness.
Every woman will experience vaginal yeast infections at least once in their lifetime. Vaginal candidiasis is characterized by uncomfortable signs and symptoms, including swelling, redness, and itchiness in the vagina. You may also experience an excessive white vaginal discharge. These infections are very uncomfortable yet very common.
A person suffering from yeast infection should consume foods rich in vitamins, healthy fats, and probiotics. These meals reduce inflammation and help the body’s microbial equilibrium. Carbohydrate and sugar-rich diets should be avoided during a yeast infection. (2)
If you are seeking additional information and tips for preventive measures, consult a professional or Yeast Infection Advisor.
Tips To Prevent Yeast Infection after Exercise
Yeast Multiply in Wet and Moist Environment
Yeast occurs naturally on and inside your body in a balanced amount. Good bacteria in your body maintain a balanced amount of yeast in the body. But certain conditions disrupt the balance of good bacteria, which causes the yeast to multiply vigorously, and yeast infection occurs. One of these conditions is a sweaty and moist environment that allows yeast to accumulate and grow rapidly.
Yeast Infections and Exercise
Intense exercise or workout is related to excessive sweating, especially in the genital area. After exercise, your body becomes moist due to excessive sweating, which allows yeast to proliferate because a damp, moist, and warm environment supports the overgrowth of yeast. Thus, changing wet or damp clothes after exercise is suggested to reduce the risk of yeast infections.
Exercise and Uterine Prolapse
When the muscles in the pelvic area weaken, pelvic organs like the bladder, uterus, and rectum fall out of place and press against the vagina. It results in a bulge in your vagina, leading to conditions like uterine prolapse. Symptoms of uterine prolapse are vaginal pressure with ulceration and severe back pain.
Kegel exercises, which strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, may help prevent pelvic organ prolapse. However, some exercises, such as weightlifting, jumping rope, trampoline jumping, intense abdominal work, running, and high-impact aerobics, may aggravate a prolapse. Therefore, if you have a prolapse, you may need to experiment to determine which exercises will not aggravate the condition.
How can exercise cause a yeast infection?
Exercise can cause yeast infections if there is a lot of sweating—most precisely when the activity is extended without bathing, drying off, and changing clothes. There is prolonged friction or lack of access to ventilation to the vaginal area, as seen with lengthy bike rides or spinning. Clothing that restricts vaginal airflow or retains moisture near the skin can also lead to yeast infections. Clothing that is too tight in the vaginal area falls into this category. Yeast thrives in warm and wet conditions. That special atmosphere is provided by exercise. (4)
How to Prevent Yeast Infections after Exercise?
Sweaty, contaminated clothing is more prone to house the fungi that cause vaginal yeast infection. In the lack of personal hygiene, these yeasts travel to the skin and then locate a wet location to grow, causing dermatitis. Tight clothes, poor cleanliness, tight skin-to-skin friction, and dampness in regions of your body with limited ventilation are all risk factors leading to vaginal infections. (5)
While you can’t completely avoid yeast infections, you can surely lower your risk by following these guidelines for exercise:
- Maintain good hygiene. Wearing the same exercise clothing day after day is not a good idea, and you should shower after each session.
- Wear clothes that are loose-fitting and breathable that wick away sweat.
Women with recurrent yeast infections are looking for solutions to prevent yeast infections because vaginal yeast infections are uncomfortable. However, there are some practices you can adopt to minimize the risk of yeast infections after exercise. They are:
Wear loose clothes during exercise
If the workout will last a long time and you will sweat a lot, then wear loose clothing and cotton underwear or clothing that will absorb or wick away moisture. Choosing clothes that will not add to the friction is critical, especially if the exercise already creates friction in the vaginal area, such as cycling. Next, if possible, take breaks to air out, i.e., for ventilation.
Allowing for ventilation may reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection. Finally, after exercising, take a shower, completely dry yourself, and change your clothes as quickly as possible. Yeast can grow quickly in moist and damp environments. Wearing loose clothing allows the body to breathe, which prevents yeast growth. On the other hand, tight clothing such as jeans and pants increases moisture around your private parts during exercise. As a result, the risk of yeast infection increases. (6)
Don’t sit for long periods in Wet Gym Suits
The main goal of the exercise is to “sweat.” So, after intense exercise, your gym suits become moist and damp, allowing yeast to grow rapidly. Don’t wear gym suits for long periods after exercise or workout. Change them immediately after exercise with dry suits. Follow proper hygienic conditions after a long game or gym. Change out of your workout clothes as soon as possible and avoid putting on anything too tight right after your workout. As you relax, change into loose-fitting shorts or sweatpants. If you’re going straight to work, try dresses and skirts instead of skinny jeans. (7)
Avoid wearing wet clothes
Wearing a wet swimming suit or a bathing suit can encourage yeast growth due to the wet conditions. Also, immediately change out of your gym or yoga suit after your workout. All of this is done to keep the genital area clean and dry to prevent yeast infection. (8)
Clean up and use protectant after exercise
After your workout, don’t go home or run errands without first visiting the locker room. If at all possible, take a shower. Wash your vaginal area and change your sweat-soaked panties and pants, at the very least. It is no longer advisable to apply talcum powder to your genitals. Instead, use protectants before and after exercising. Apply a thin layer of emollient, such as Calmoseptine or Vaseline, to prevent yeast infection.
Use Moisture Wicking Underwear
Wearing moisture-wicking underwear is one of the best things you can do to prevent yeast infections from recurring after exercise. Such moisture-wicking underwear is ideal for preventing yeast infection if you are prone to it because yeast blooms in wet, damp conditions. Wet underwear in humid, warm environments may promote overgrowth. Instead, experts advise wearing a natural fabric like cotton every day because it is very breathable, making it the best moisture-wicking underwear for yeast infections. (8)
Avoid douches after exercise
Douches, for example, can upset the balance of bacteria in your vagina by removing some of the good bacteria that are supposed to be there to fight infections. So, avoid it immediately after exercise. Also, when it comes to feminine products, skip the scent. This includes products such as bubble baths, soaps, sprays, tampons, and pads. Such preventive measures can reduce the chances of vaginal yeast infection. (9)
Follow Healthy Exercise Habits
Following healthy exercise, habits can reduce the risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection. You can support your overall health and improve your exercise by:
- Following and practicing good hygiene.
- Stay hydrated during and after exercise
- Consuming a well-balanced diet of lean meats and fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats
- Exercise properly with cardio and strengthening training
- Wear loose clothes
If you frequently experience vaginal discomfort while exercising, it’s time to reconsider your workout routine. First, take a look at your workout attire. Replace any clothing that is too tight with looser outfits made of breathable fabrics. If you enjoy biking or indoor cycling, which puts pressure on your vagina, try different activities to improve your condition. If your vaginal irritation persists, you may have an infection or another condition that necessitates medical attention. Consult your health care provider for an assessment.
Avoiding preventive measures after exercise leads to yeast infection. But this does not mean to stop exercising. As exercising a great proactive decision about your health, take it up another level with being proactive with your vaginal health. Follow guidelines to avoid a vaginal yeast infection. But suppose you find yourself with the symptoms of a vaginal or yeast infection. In that case, you must see your health care provider immediately.