Q: My crotch itches. Do I have a yeast infection?
A: Itching in your groin is one symptom of a yeast infection. So is burning and a white discharge. Sometimes a yeast infection can also cause pain during sexual intercourse. Let’s break it down a little bit more so that you get a better idea of whether you have a yeast infection or not.
Yeast infections can occur in any warm, moist part of your body, including the mouth, the vagina, the anus, the underarms, under the breasts, and under nail beds. However, vaginal yeast infections are the most common type, and many women will get a yeast infection at some point in their lives. According to WebMD:
Yeasts are found in the vagina of most women and can overgrow if the environment in the vagina changes. Antibiotic and steroid use is the most common reason for yeast overgrowth. But pregnancy, menstruation, sperm, diabetes, and birth control pills also can contribute to getting a yeast infection. Yeast infections are more common after menopause.
Since yeast infections are so common, how can they be prevented?
1. Don’t have sex if …
- either you or your partner is being treated for bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection, or a sexually transmitted disease
- you think either of you are infected
- condoms or female condoms are not available
2. Shower regularly and use a mild soap. Rinse off thoroughly before you get out of the shower.
3. Be sure to dry off as thoroughly as possible after your showers. If your groin, butt, breasts, or armpits stay moist, you are inviting yeast to grow.
4. Let towels dry before you use them again.
5. Only use your own towels — don’t share them.
6. Avoid sitting around in a wet bathing suit.
For more information about how to recognize the symptoms of a yeast infection and how to prevent one, visit Planned Parenthood’s website. And for heaven’s sake, if your crotch itches, please make an appointment to come into a health center. You’ll be glad you did.
Editor’s Note: Check out our follow-up to this post, “Can Yogurt Prevent Yeast Infections?”