Does swimming cause a vaginal yeast infection? Can you get a vaginal infection when you swim? These are the questions that we are going to answer.
Let’s start with the first question.
Can you get a vaginal yeast infection from swimming alone?
The answer is: No, you cannot get a yeast infection from swimming.
This is because vaginal yeast infections do not spread through water. Other swimmers cannot infect you with a yeast infection by simply swimming in the same pool as you. And you can also not get it by simply swimming in water that someone who has a yeast infection previously swam in.
So, why is it that you tend to have a vaginal yeast infection every time you swim?
It all has to do with two things:
- your swim suit.
- the chlorine in the pool.
Let’s start with your swim suit.
i. Swim Suit
According to HealthLine, tight-fitting clothing usually encourage yeast growth. This is because it doesn’t allow the skin to breathe as freely as is necessary. Add to this the fact that a swimsuit, after a swim, is usually wet. And you have a sequence of factors that encourage yeast growth. This then causes you to have a vaginal yeast infection.
ii. Chlorinated water
Chlorine is usually applied to pools in order to kill bacteria and any other harmful organisms. This is great. Except that when this water comes into contact with your vagina, it also kills some of the organisms that exist there. This includes useful ones.
This messes with the balance in the vagina. And since some of the useful bacteria usually control candida yeast population, the candida yeast cells will grow at an increased rate since there will be nothing to control them. This then leads to a vaginal yeast infection. And some of the symptoms that usually come with it like a burning sensation, reddening of the walls of the vagina, an abnormal vaginal discharge and an itchy feeling.
These are the reasons why you tend to get a candida yeast infection immediately after going on a swim.
7 things you should do to avoid a yeast infection after swimming
Swimming tends to encourage yeast infections. This is not because yeast infections spread through water. And it’s also not because of contaminated water.
It is more of the fact that people tend to wear wet swimming suits for longer. It is also because chlorinated water, a chemical that is used in most pools, sometimes interferes with the vaginal environment.
Both of these factors create a conducive environment in which candida albicans yeast tends to thrive.
So, question is, what can you do to avoid getting a vaginal yeast infection every time you decide to swim?
There are 7 things you can do.
1. Time spent in the bath suit
First,reduce the amount of time you spend in your wet bath suit. Doing this will minimize the amount of time that your skin remains damp. This will discourage yeast growth.
2. Rinse after swimming
Second, rinse immediately after swimming. This is great for it will wash away any pool chemicals. It will be great for your skin. Your vagina will also thank you.
The third thing you can do to avoid candida yeast infections after swimming is to dry the genital area. But make sure that you don’t rub vigorously.
The last thing yeast cells need is a dry environment. Keeping dry will therefore help keep yeast infections at bay.
4. Avoid vagina-hostile products
The fourth way of avoiding yeast infections after swimming by keeping away from powders, douches and any other scented products. Using these products after taking a swim will definitely affect the balance that exists in your vagina. It will therefore encourage yeast overgrowth, increasing the risks of an infection.
Keep away from these and you will minimize the chances of an infection.
5. Cotton panties and loose-fitting dresses
The fifth thing you can do is wear cotton panties and loose-fitting dresses immediately after swimming. These will help to ensure that your genital area is dry. They will also improve aeration around the genital area. They will also therefore eliminate the conditions that usually encourage vaginal yeast growth.
6. Choose an alternative pool
The sixth way of preventing a vaginal yeast infection after swimming is by choosing another pool. If you can, avoid pools that use chlorine. Opt for UV-sanitized or ozone-sanitized pools. The beach is also a great option.
All these alternatives usually contain less vagina-hostile chemicals. Chances of staying candida-free when using these pools is therefore higher than when using chlorinated pools.
7. Use probiotic supplements and suppositories
According to Mayo Clinic, there is evidence that probiotics and prebiotics help prevent and treat yeast infections. Therefore, you can prevent vaginal yeast infections from swimming by improving your good-bacteria count.
Candida yeast infections occur when there is an imbalance in microflora. Swimming in a chlorinated pool causes this imbalance. This is because the chlorine ends up killing even the good bacteria in your vagina.
You can always restore your good bacteria count by using probiotic supplements. You can also opt for probiotic suppositories. Prebiotics also work. Use them to help prevent an infection. You can also use them to speed up your recovery after a vaginal yeast infection.