There comes a time in every person with a vagina's life where they have to go through the wonders of a yeast infection: a condition that can make your vagina and vulva itchy and cause thick, white, vaginal discharge. Yeast infections are caused by an over-abundance of a yeast called candida albicans that lives in your vagina, according to the Mayo Clinic, and it's important to deal with it promptly so that your yeast infection goes away.
"The vagina is normally acidic," Dr. Sherry Ross, MD, an OB/GYN at Santa Monica Women's Health, tells Bustle. "This is the preferred pH balance, and is perfect for the many protective organisms which all live happily together in the vagina." When it becomes unbalanced, yeast can grow too enthusiastically, causing the symptoms of an infection. If your yeast infection tends to linger beyond the point where it should be cleared up, though, experts tell Bustle that various issues may be impeding your recovery.
Yeast infections can occur for many reasons. One, Dr. Ross tells Bustle, is underlying health issues. "Chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and other medical problems that make your immune system susceptible to infection can cause recurrent yeast infections," she says. If you have an immune system condition, you may find that your yeast infections return rapidly and are difficult to treat. If there's no distinct medical reason for your yeast infections to last as long as they do, however, the answer may lie in habits that may be unconsciously making the problem worse. Here are eight potential habits that might make your yeast infection stick around.