Yeast infections aren’t fun to have, but they are treatable and fairly common. Let’s break down what exactly a yeast infection is and how you can get rid of one.
Yeast is a type of infection - like a bacteria or a virus - and different types of yeast can infect different parts of the body. If you’re wondering what the difference is between a yeast and a fungus, it’s simple: yeast is one type of fungus.
The most common places people get yeast infections are the dark, sweaty spots on the body: so between the toes (AKA athlete’s foot), in the mouth (that’s called thrush), and in the vagina. When the temperature, moisture level, and acidity are all just right, the few yeast that may normally live in one of these spots and never both us instead begin to multiply. Vaginal yeast infections typically cause thick, white discharge (sometimes it looks curdled like cottage cheese), and it often causes itching or irritation.
If you think you have a yeast infection anywhere on your body, the very first thing is to try to reduce the moisture level in that spot. So if you’re flaking in between your toes, stop wearing socks and sweat-producing sneakers, trading in for flips flops or sandals that let your toes breath; if you suspect you’ve got a vaginal yeast infection, wear loose-fitting underpants made of plain cotton to maximize breathability down there and, overnight, sleep with either super loose bottoms or nothing at all (unless you are on your period and need a pad). Avoid things like super hot baths and jacuzzis while you’re trying to get the yeast to go away, because the heat and moisture will simply help them grow faster. Vaginal yeast infections usually require treatment with an anti-fungal medicine, so call your healthcare provider for advice.