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Can Stress Cause Yeast Infections?

Yeast infections are itchy, painful and extremely uncomfortable—not to mention sometimes messy to treat. If you've ever had one or find yourself dealing with recurrent infections, then you've probably tried all kinds of DIY remedies to prevent them, from eating more probiotic-rich foods like yogurt to considering putting garlic in your vagina (not sure about that one). Believe me I've tried it all (besides the garlic thing). 

Lately, I've been hearing a lot about how stress can cause a yeast infection, I see this a lot on social media. If this is true, it's good news to the 75% of women who will have at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. Instead of late-night drugstore runs for anti-yeast creams, think more yoga classes, self-care, and other anti-stress measures.

So is stress behind your yeast infection? “Stress is might be a factor, but we don't really have any great controlled clinical studies that prove that stress in and of itself can cause a yeast infection,” This is per Donnica Moore, MD, ob-gyn. 

Just like bacteria, yeast is normally present in the vagina; it's only when something throws off the balance of bacteria to yeast does infection occur. Antibiotics, hormones, poor vaginal hygiene are a few of the things that can disrupt this balance. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also make you more susceptible to yeast infections, thanks to changes in estrogen levels.

But no evidence shows that being stressed out can actually cause yeast to grow like crazy and land you an infection. Although, stress may be a contributing factor making the infection more stubborn and more likely to recur. 

The stress-yeast connection has to do with cortisol, a hormone released when you're tense. “What we do know is that prolonged stress causes your cortisol level to go up, which causes your blood sugar to go up, and yeast loves sugar,”

The yeast that is already present in your vagina thrive on this sugar and can grow quickly, resulting in an infection. So yes, chronic stress can lead to chronic yeast infections, but there are so many other factors, that also contribute.  So you see, it is not good to stress for so many reasons.

Take precautions to stay mentally healthy, exercise and eat right.

God gave us one body, we need to know it and love it!