We Need to Talk About This Nasty Side Effect of Your High-Stress Life
This is not an ideal topic, but since most females will get a yeast infection in their lifetimes — and almost half of women will experience two or more — let's get informed.
First off, according to Womenshealth.gov, your vaginal yeast infection comes by way of a host of uncomfortable symptoms, which include burning, itching, pain during urination and sex, and thick, white discharge. The infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida. Various everyday lifestyle factors contribute to getting a yeast infection. Wearing really tight jeans or leggings, staying in sweaty workout clothing for too long, highly scented feminine products, and wiping the wrong way (should always be from front to back!) are just some of the things that might increase your risk of getting a yeast infection.
Turns out, our close friend stress is an important link in the wellness of our vaginal health, too. Since the mind has a great effect on the body, Dr. Mashfika N. Alam, a family physician, told POPSUGAR, "A weakened immune system does predispose the body to fungal infections including vaginal yeast infections. Since chronic stress does tend to lower the body's defenses, it can trigger vaginal candida infections."
Dr. Sean McCaffrey, a health and wellness professional who specializes in integrative health, also told POPSUGAR, "When under chronic stress, your body has to allocate all of its resources differently. The adrenal glands then take the majority of these resources to deal with the stress, which weakens the immune system. This causes the body to have an imbalance in its systems."
Essentially, your stress — emotional, physical, or nutritional — allows things that are more opportunistic to get started and those things can be infection, disease, and a lot of discomfort. Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, echoes this sentiment, as he explained to POPSUGAR, "The mind affects to the body to a great degree, and when we are stressed out chronically, it can most certainly aggravate different kinds of illnesses."
Similar to having an ulcer or high blood pressure or muscle tension, practicing self-care techniques that will increase relaxation and decrease stress are going to help your vaginal health, too. Try yoga and meditation. Go for a walk. Eat calming foods.
Over and over, we see correlations between physical and mental health, so do yourself a favor and take steps to rein in your stress and positively keep yourself out of discomfort's way. There is no better excuse than your health to give yourself a spa treatment (even at home) as often as possible.