Female Yeast Infection: Why Does It Affect More Women?
The female yeast infection is something that’s all too common: medical experts estimate that around three out of every four women will experience one at least once in their lifetime, some women will get it even more often. Back to Top of your health online page
Both the male and female yeast infection is caused by a fungus known as candida albicans. This is a microorganism present in our bodies that generally does us no harm, thanks to the fact that our body keeps a balance with good and bad bacteria. However, when this balance becomes uneven, candida can grow resulting in a yeast infection.
What Makes the Female Yeast Infection More Common?
Although both men and women can have candida albicans within their bodies, and can both suffer from yeast infections, women are more likely to suffer due to a number of risk factors.
It’s estimated that around 25%-50% of all women naturally have the candida albicans microorganism in their body, which can cause the infection when it gets out of balance. The majority of the time it does no harm, but it can get disrupted.
Candida can be disrupted in both men and women by factors such as high blood sugar and antibiotics. However, many other risk factors are more common to women than men.
Risk Factors Unique to Women
Women are far more likely to develop a yeast infection during pregnancy than at any other time in their life, especially during the second trimester. It isn’t uncommon for women to notice differences in their vaginal discharge at this time. This is because the body is going through a number of changes.
The changes that pregnancy causes in the body means that more sugar is present in the vagina. In turn, this feeds yeast which can increase and cause an infection. Hormones play a big role, where increased levels of estrogen can create imbalances within the vagina. This is why women are also at greater risk of yeast infection when taking an estrogen-based birth control pill.
The candida albicans fungus is more likely to grow in women if they make use of products such as feminine hygiene sprays or deodorants. Women are also more susceptible as they get older and go through menopause.
What Can You Do?
Although the female yeast infection is more common than the male, it doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely get one just because you’re a woman. If you want to reduce the risk, then use unscented tampons, bubble baths, and pads, avoid tight fitting underwear, and avoid douching. If you do develop a yeast infection and have never had one before, remember to get an official diagnosis from a doctor.
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