A vaginal yeast infection is a common condition that is caused by the excessive growth of a certain fungus known as Candida albicans.
Vaginal yeast infection may be characterized by itching, burning, and redness in the vaginal area, as well as thick, white vaginal discharge. Yeast infections are treated with antifungal medication, which can be taken orally or applied to the affected area.
This post will comprehensively educate you about vaginal yeast infection. From causes to treatment.
How to know you have a Vaginal Yeast Infection
The most common signs and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are as follows;
- Itching in the vaginal area.
- An awkward burning feeling during and after urination.
- Redness in the vaginal area.
- An abrupt unusual thick, white vaginal discharge.
- Swelling and redness of the vulva.
- Mild or extremely severe pain during intercourse.
Note: Not all women with a vaginal yeast infection will experience symptoms. Hence why it is advisable to be vigilant at all times. Rush to a hospital if you experience any of the above symptoms.
What are the Risk factors for Vaginal Yeast Infection?
There are several factors that can increase a lady’s risk of developing a vaginal yeast infection.
- Using Antibiotics: Antibiotics can kill off the beneficial bacteria that keep the fungus Candida albicans in check, allowing it to overgrow and cause a yeast infection.
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can create a favorable environment for the growth of the fungus Candida albicans.
- Weakened immune system: A weakened immune system can make it more difficult for the body to control the growth of the fungus, increasing the risk of a yeast infection.
- Hormonal changes: The balance of bacteria in the vagina can be changed by hormonal changes, which increases the risk of a yeast infection. Examples include pregnancy-related hormonal changes.
- Tight-fitting clothing: Wearing tight-fitting clothing or underwear that is made from synthetic materials can trap moisture and heat, creating an environment that is conducive to the growth of the fungus.
- Poor hygiene: Good hygiene is encouraged for every female, especially around the vaginal area. Poor hygiene may make it possible for the fungus to grow and cause a Vaginal yeast infection.
- Sexual activity: Having sex can introduce bacteria into the vagina and increase the risk of a yeast infection, ensure when you engage in such activities you do it safely.
Note that not all of these factors will actually cause a yeast infection in every person. Some people may be more susceptible to yeast infections than others, and it is not always possible to prevent them.
Diagnosis for Vaginal Yeast Infection
To diagnose a vaginal yeast infection, a doctor will engage you in a Q and A session. After that, there will be a need to perform a physical exam. The doctor may also take a sample of the vaginal discharge if there is any for laboratory testing to confirm the presence of the fungus Candida albicans.
In some cases, additional testing may be needed to remove other conditions that may manifest in the same way as a yeast infection.
Additional testing: In some cases, additional testing may be needed to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. This may include a urine test, a swab of the cervix, or a blood test.
Do not conclude. See a doctor for diagnosis and be advised on the best treatment options for a vaginal yeast infection because While some over-the-counter medications are available for the treatment of yeast infections, a doctor can provide the most effective and safe treatment.
What Causes Vaginal Yeast Infection
A vaginal yeast infection is caused by an increase in the number of fungi called Candida albicans. This fungus is normally present in the vagina in small amounts, and it does not usually cause any problems. Although some factors can cause the fungus to be excessive and lead to a yeast infection.
Here are five possible causes of a vaginal yeast infection:
1. Poor hygiene.
Good hygiene is encouraged for every female, especially around the vaginal area. Poor hygiene may make it possible for the fungus to grow and cause a Vaginal yeast infection. Vaginal hygiene needs to be observed at all times including;
- During menstruation- how many times you change your pad/tampon, how you clean it.
- After using the bathroom- how you wipe or clean yourself.
- After intercourse- do you clean it?
- During a shower- how to wash it, dry it, and keep it.
- Clothing- grooming(type of Pants).
2. Using Antibiotic
Antibiotics come in handy for various infections but what most people don’t know is that they can kill off the beneficial bacteria that keep the fungus Candida albicans in check, allowing it to overgrow and cause a yeast infection.
If you have concerns about the use of antibiotics, talk to a doctor for more valid information.
3. Uncontrolled diabetes.
High blood sugar levels can create a favorable environment for the growth of the fungus Candida albicans.
4. Weakened immune system.
A weakened immune system can make it more difficult for the body to control the growth of the fungus, increasing the risk of a yeast infection.
Women experience a change in hormones at different stages or transitions in their life including during pregnancy and menopause, which can alter the balance of bacteria and increase the risk of a yeast infection.
6. Tight-fitting clothing.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing or underwear that is made from synthetic materials can trap moisture and heat, creating an environment that is conducive to the growth of the fungus.
Vaginal Yeast Infection treatment options
Treatment options for a vaginal yeast infection include antifungal medication, which can be taken orally or applied to the affected area.
The most commonly used medications for treating yeast infections are azoles, which are available over the counter or by prescription.
1. Oral medication.
The most commonly used oral medication for treating a yeast infection is fluconazole (Diflucan), which is a single-dose medication.
2. Topical medication.
Topical antifungal creams and suppositories are also available for the treatment of yeast infections. These include clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat), and terconazole (Terazol).
3. Other treatments.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend other treatments for a yeast infection, such as boric acid or nystatin.
Note: Avoid self-medication. While some over-the-counter medications are available for the treatment of yeast infections, a doctor can provide the most effective and safe treatment.
How to avoid getting a Vaginal Yeast Infection
- Wear comfortable-fitting, breathable cotton underwear to help keep the area dry without leaving any moisture which is a breeding ground for fungus.
- Avoid using scented soaps and bubble baths, as these can irritate the sensitive skin in the vaginal area.
- Avoid using douches, as they can alter the balance of bacteria in the vagina and increase the risk of infection.
- Avoid using perfumed or heavily scented products on your genitals, as these can cause irritation and increase the risk of infection.
- Always wipe from front to back after using the restroom to prevent transferring bacteria from your anal area to your vaginal area.
- Avoid having sex with partners who have a known history of yeast infections, as this can increase your risk of developing an infection.
- If you have been diagnosed with a yeast infection, refrain from having sex until the condition has resolved in order to heal more quickly and prevent it from getting worse.
- Observe high hygiene and consider using a condom or dental dam during sex if you frequently get yeast infections to lower your risk of getting one.
- If you are taking antibiotics, be sure to eat plenty of yogurt or other probiotic-rich foods to help maintain the balance of bacteria in your vagina.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will yeast infection go away on its own?
Some mild cases of yeast infection may clear up on their own, but most will require treatment with antifungal medication. If you suspect you have a yeast infection, it’s important to see a healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
How can I get rid of a yeast infection?
The most common way to treat a yeast infection is with antifungal medication, which can be in the form of a cream, tablet, or suppository.
Over-the-counter antifungal creams and suppositories are available for mild cases of yeast infection. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe a stronger medication for more severe cases or if over-the-counter treatments haven’t worked.
In addition, you can try to practice good hygiene, such as keeping the affected area clean and dry and avoiding tight-fitting clothing to prevent moisture buildup. It is important to consult your healthcare provider before using any over-the-counter medications and follow their instruction on how to use them, how long, and when to see improvement or come back if there is no improvement.
Is a yeast infection an STD?
A yeast infection is not said to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Yeast infections are caused by excessive growth of the fungus Candida, which is naturally present in the vagina.
Certain factors such as antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, weakened immunity or hormone fluctuations can cause the fungus to overgrow, resulting in a yeast infection. Both men and women can get yeast infections, but women tend to get them more frequently. Sexual activity can also increase the chance of a yeast infection, but the infection itself is not considered an STD. STDs include chlamydia and syphilis among others.
How long does a yeast infection last?
Depending on how severe the infection is and the chosen method of treatment, a yeast infection may last for a different amount of time. While more severe infections can take up to two weeks to resolve, milder infections may do so in as little as three to seven days. If you have a chronic yeast infection, it may last for several months.
If you are using an over-the-counter treatment, it is important to follow the instructions on the package and use the treatment for the recommended number of days, even if your symptoms improve before you finish the treatment.
Your doctor will give you advice on how long to take prescription medication, when to anticipate results, and how frequently to schedule follow-up appointments if you’re taking them.
It is also important to note that yeast infection can recur, especially if the underlying cause is not addressed or if the infection was not completely cleared. So, some cases may require multiple rounds of treatment.
It’s important to consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or if your symptoms do not improve after treatment.
What is a complicated yeast infection?
A complicated yeast infection is a term used to describe yeast infections that are severe, persistent, or recurrent, or that occur in certain populations, such as those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions.
Complicated yeast infections can be challenging to diagnose and treat, and may require a combination of antifungal medications and other therapies.
A complicated yeast infection is treated with antifungal medications, but treatment may also include addressing underlying health issues, such as managing diabetes or HIV or addressing lifestyle factors that may contribute to the overgrowth of Candida. It is important to see a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment for complicated yeast infections as over-the-counter treatments may not be effective.