What is Yeast Infection?
Various strains of yeast occur naturally in your vagina in small amounts. However, the real cause of vaginal yeast infection is a fungus called Candida albicans.
However, Candida yeast infection is most common in teenage girls and women between the ages of sixteen and thirty-five. Although it can occur in younger girls and older women too.
Men and boys can be infected too, but it’s rarer. And you don’t have to be sexually active to get this infection
Causes of Yeast Infection
The cause of yeast infection is due to an imbalance of normal microorganisms and the yeast fungus in the vagina. This happens when the environment inside the vagina turns favorable for the growth of Candida albicans.
This environment makes it difficult for the other microorganisms to thrive, causing an imbalance. The likely causes for yeast infection are:
1. Tight clothing
Especially if it’s worn in hot, humid weather. This gives an ideal environment for yeast infections to develop. Even layered clothing worn indoors during winter can cause it.
2. Birth control pills
Use of birth control pills. Especially those containing estrogen, is a leading cause amongst women.
Yeast infection in pregnancy is a common occurrence, because of the increased hormone level. This causes changes in the vaginal environment, making it perfect for fungal growth.
Taking antibiotics, particularly tetracycline, suppresses the growth of protective bacteria in the vagina, affecting the normal balance of microorganisms.
Those with diabetes remain susceptible to yeast infection.
6. Lowered immunity
Not getting enough rest and illness can lower the body’s immunity. Even some diseases, like HIV and AIDS, can affect it, leading to (oral yeast infection), esophageal candidiasis and skin yeast infection.
7. Sexual contact
Most men develop a male yeast infection, like itching and penile rash following sexual contact with an infected partner suffering from vaginal candidiasis.
What are Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms?
Itching is the main yeast infection symptom. But not all itching can be blamed on it. Your physician is the best person to tell whether it’s a yeast infection or something else. Generally, the vaginal yeast infection symptom includes:
1. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
This may range from a slightly watery, white discharge to a thick, white, chunky discharge, like cottage cheese. It’s usually odorless. Although it might smell like bread or yeast.
2. Itching or burning
Vaginal itching is a tingling or uneasy irritation of the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area. The main reason for itching or burning may cause a desire to scratch the affected area.
3. Redness and Inflammation
This may occur on the external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and vestibule of the vagina.
4. Painful Intercourse
Women can experience pain in the pelvic area during or soon after sexual intercourse.
5. Painful Urination
Painful urination describes any pain, discomfort or burning sensation during urination.
Treatment for Vaginal Yeast Infection
There are many treatments available for yeast infection including:
1. Over-the-counter drugs
An effective over-the-counter drug is (Diflucan for the yeast infection). This FDA approved oral drug clears the infection in just one dose.
Other drugs like Femstat 3, Gyne-Lotrimin, Monistat 7 and Vagistat, containing active ingredients butoconazole nitrate, clotrimazole, miconazole, and tioconazole respectively, help dissolve the fungus.
2. Suppositories and creams
Before you opt for any kind of medication. Get a proper diagnosis done. Since sexually transmitted disease, like trichomoniasis, has similar symptoms.
Your physician will perform a pelvic examination that may show inflammation of the skin of the vulva, within the vagina and on the cervix. This may reveal dry, white plaques on the vaginal wall.
Yeast infections are usually treated by applying medicine to the vagina. This medicine may be a cream, like miconazole or clotrimazole.
You insert in your vagina with a special applicator or it may be a suppository that you put into your vagina and allow it to dissolve on its own. A cream form of medicine can also help to relieve itching. Medicine in a pill form that you take by mouth is also available .
These medicines can clear up your symptoms in a couple of days and cure the infection within a week. You need to take the prescribed medicine regularly. If you stop it too soon, the infection could recur .
3. Home Remedy for Yeast Infection
You can also opt for a natural cure for vaginal yeast infection. By daubing apple cider vinegar regularly on the affected area. You’ll be able to prevent the infection.
However, use diluted vinegar. Another home remedy for vaginal yeast infection is yogurt. Apply it directly to your vagina.
Place a yogurt-soaked tampon in the infected region to get rid of the infection. Yogurt contains live acidophilus bacteria that destroy yeast.
Yeast infection prevention
Getting treated for vaginal yeast infection once is not enough. Chances of recurrence are always high. To prevent this, take the following actions:
a. Tight-fitting or synthetic-fiber clothes don’t let the skin ‘breathe’ and also create ideal conditions for yeast growth, so wear cotton clothes, especially cotton undergarments.
b. Change wet swimsuits or other damp clothes as soon as you can.
c. Take care to always dry your genital area after bath or swim. This can be achieved by using a blow dryer on a low, cool setting.
d. To retain the acidic balance of the vagina, don’t douche or use feminine sprays, deodorant sanitary pads or tampons, or even bubble baths.
e. While using toilet paper, wipe from front to back after using the toilet. This prevents the bacteria from the anal area from travelling to the vagina.
f. Since, the yeast infection can be passed through vaginal intercourse, avoid sex till the time you get fully cured.
Vaginal yeast infection can make life a living hell. You need not suffer in silence. Confide in your physician and find the best vaginal yeast infection cures.
Vaginal yeast infection is nothing serious. If you do get afflicted. Call your physician into confidence before resorting to any vaginal yeast infection cure.