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Preventing Vaginal Infection


These steps can help you stay comfortable during treatment of a vaginal infection. They also help prevent vaginal infections in the future.

Keeping a Healthy Balance

Factors that change the normal balance in the vagina can lead to a vaginal infection. To help keep the balance normal, try these tips:

  • Change out of wet bathing suits and damp exercise clothes as soon as possible. Yeast thrive in a warm, moist environment.
  • Avoid wearing tight pants. Choose cotton underwear and pantyhose that have a cotton crotch. Cotton keeps you cooler and drier than synthetics.
  • Don't douche unless directed by your healthcare provider. Douching can destroy friendly bacteria and change the vagina's normal balance.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. This prevents bacteria from spreading from the anus to the vulva.
  • Wash the vulva with mild, unscented soap or with plain water.
  • Wash your diaphragm, spermicide applicators, and sex toys with mild soap and water after use. Dry them thoroughly before putting them away.
  • Change tampons often (every 2 to 4 hours). Leaving a tampon in for too long may disrupt the balance of vaginal bacteria.

Staying Healthy Overall

Good overall health can help you resist infection. To be healthier:

  • Help protect yourself from STDs by using latex condoms for intercourse. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about safer sex.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough rest and sleep.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your healthcare provider for advice on how to start.
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