The Doctors answer a question sent to them through social media. A fan says, "Hi Doctors! Recently I've been having yeast infections more than usual. I haven't changed any hygiene products but I did just start a new real estate job. Could this issue be stress related?"
Urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman says, "Being stressed out affects the immune system, it can change the flora in the vagina - the good bacteria versus the bad bacteria - it can change the pH of the vagina and lead to yeast infections.
But Dr. Berman cautions that yeast infection symptoms, which include itching, burning and irritation, could be associated with other kinds of infections such as urinary tract infections (UTI) or an infection related to an STD.
"Men can carry yeast infections and her partner may have it and not even know," says Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon for another possible explanation for her recurrent yeast infections.
In terms of how stress is connected to our health, it's really important to manage stress because it may show up as a yeast infection but the stress is affecting your entire body. Stress truly can make us sick and hinder our ability to fight off an infection. And if our immune system is jeopardized, it can lead to other illnesses.
ER physician Dr. Travis stork cautions that though stress is absolutely related to many types of illnesses, If you're getting recurrent vaginal infections make sure you see your doctor to figure out what the root cause is. Stress can play a role but repeated infections should not be caused by just stress alone.