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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.

Scented toilet paper, deodorant tampons, scented vaginal spray, deodorant pads, scented soap with circle and slash indicating to avoid these since they can cause vaginal irritation.

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 health care 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 hours 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 health care 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 health care provider for advice on how to start.

Online Medical Reviewer: Gunter, Melissa, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: McBee-Cooke, Carrie Lyn, MD
Last Review Date: 3/16/2012
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.