MOST of us will hang about next to the pool after a dip, waiting for our bathing suit to dry.
But health experts have warned against sitting in your wet bikini for too long, if you don’t want to be struck by a nasty infection that could interfere with your holiday.
Unfortunately, bacteria can thrive in moist and warm conditions and keeping your damp bottoms on won’t help matters.
According to obstetrician and gynaecologist at Piedmont, Tia Guster, “bathing suits are the perfect breeding ground for yeast” as well as bacteria, as “you have moisture in an intimate area that is warm and dark”.
Often, keeping your swimming costume on for too long can land you with an unwanted holiday guest: a vaginal yeast infection.
What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?
It tends to be caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans and leave you with all sorts of unpleasant symptoms.
- itching and irritation in your vagina and vulva – vulva refers your outside parts, whereas your vagina is what’s inside your body
- a burning sensation, especially when having sex or while peeing
- redness and swelling of your vulva
- vaginal pain and soreness
- vaginal rash
- a thick, white, odour-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- watery vaginal discharge
According to Dr Guster, you might experience a little bit of spotting – light bleeding from your vagina – if your yeast infection is really bad.
How can a yeast infection be treated?
Fear not – a yeast infection doesn’t need to spell out ruin for your holiday.
They’re pretty easy to treat with over-the-counter medications and treatments, such as anti-fungal creams or tablets.
You could also get a pessary, which is an anti-fungal tablet you insert in your vagina, as well as creams to relieve irritation.
Your symptoms should take between one and two weeks to clear up after you start treatment, NHS guidance states.
If you have a recurring problem with yeast infections – more than four times in a year – you might need to take treatment for longer, up to six months.
Speaking to GP can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing it.
How to best prevent yeast infections
Dr Guster had a few tips to keep the annoying infection at bay:
- Change into a clean, dry swimsuit after your dip or you can wash your wet swimsuit and use a blow dryer to expedite the drying process
- Wear loose, flowy clothing: “If you’re going to have your bathing suit on all day, wear a sarong, dress or loose fitting shorts that let air circulate and get that area dry faster,” Dr. Guster said
- Choose a swimsuit with moisture wicking protection, as they can help remove moisture from your skin and bring it to the surface of your swimsuit until it evaporates