10 Things You Should Know About Vaginal Yeast Infection

Posted: October 14, 2019

Vaginal yeast infection is a common infection that affects almost 75% of women at some point of time. Don’t fear – here is all you need to know about it!

Vaginal yeast infection is very common and affects upto 75% of women at some point in their lives. And the fungus still strikes back even after its cure. However, this is not the end of the world.

To help ourselves in the war against this infection, we must armour ourselves with a little information.

Haven’t we all heard, “if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles?”

So let us begin.

What is a Yeast Infection?

Before we go any further, we should know what a yeast infection is. Also known as the vaginal yeast infection, it is caused by Candida albicans (our major culprit here).

Now girls, don’t be too afraid of it because the fun fact is, 20% to 50% of women already have Candida present in their vagina. But when the balance of bacteria and yeast changes, the yeast cells multiply, causing intense itching, swelling, and irritation. Ouch!

How am I supposed to know if I am infected?

If you are infected, there will be a number of things that might seem wrong down there. You might have intense vaginal or genital itching, swelling and soreness around the vagina. It might burn during urination or sex, and you might even experience pain while having sex. Your vagina and the surrounding area might have rashes or redness around it.

Another symptom is the whitish-gray, and clumpy vaginal discharge. This might also be watery.

But something to keep in mind: the longer you keep vaginal yeast infection untreated, the worse it gets.

What are the causes?

Before we go for the remedies, let us take a look at the causes.

The major cause? Imbalance of yeast and the good bacteria, Lactobacillus, that keeps the yeast growth in check. There are several other factors resulting in yeast infection:

  • The intake of antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs cause the Lactobacillus to decrease. In turn, the yeast multiples and invades the tissues causing an irritation to the lining of the vagina.
  • If your diabetes is not well controlled, or you have a sweet tooth, the increase in sugar in the mucus membranes of your vagina will create a place for the yeast to thrive.
  • Changes during hormonal imbalance, caused by pregnancy, breast-feeding, menopause, or the consumption of birth control pills, can change the balance in your vagina.
  • Douching and scented sprays – a no-no.

Panic mode on – Are there doctors to deal with this?

No need to worry, girl. If you do get infected, you will find help, physicians or obviously, gynaecologists can help you.

The infections are diagnosed by the doctor who would ask for your medical history, do a pelvic exam and an examination of some vaginal cells in the laboratory.

How to deal with the infection

The treatments vary for the simple and the more complex infections.

Women with simple yeast infection should consult their doctors and medical help will be provided. Furthermore, they should follow up within two months to make sure that the medicine has worked.

Be aware of the symptoms or a more severe infection. These include severe redness, swelling and itching leading to sores or tears in your vaginal tissue. It can also be multiple infections a year.

There are possible treatments available for the worsened infection, and you should consult your doctor immediately if you are facing one.

Home Remedies!

Before you try any of these, please consult your doctor and ask for their opinions. Make sure your hands are clean whenever you apply any cream or oil in your vagina.

Now, why don’t we go organic?

You can apply coconut oil, tea tree oil cream or plain yogurt. Taken orally, garlic and plain yogurt can be used. You can also make use of boric acid vaginal suppositories.

Try not to spread the yeast, it’s contagious

Yes.  You heard it right. The yeast infection can spread through oral and vaginal intercourse. Use condoms to prevent your partner from getting infected. It can also spread through sex toys.

There’s also something called oral thrush, which is a yeast infection of the mouth. So, the yeast infection might also spread through kissing.

A new mother, if she is infected, can transmit the fungus to her baby during the delivery. If there is an overgrowth of the yeast in her breast area, the baby will get infected during breastfeeding as well.

Is yeast infection the same as a UTI?

Unlike the yeast infection, UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is a bacterial infection which affects the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder and kidney. Prolonging a UTI, problems might arise in the functioning of kidney. It is caused by sex, STIs and suppressing the urge to pee for a long time.

The symptoms are also different. A little amount of blood might appear with the urine, but there is no white discharge like the yeast infection.

Yeast infection and periods

Doesn’t this phrase makes you want to wrap up in a blanket and sleep forever? Don’t worry. Your doctor is there to help you.

But to know if it’s a yeast infection, check if there are any burning or itching sensation in your vagina. The white to yellow discharge is something you might usually have right before your periods. Look out for some redness too.

Because hormonal fluctuations take place during menstruation, the possibility of yeast infections increase.

How to save myself from yeast infection

Since you’ve reached this far in this article, you might have already gotten an idea about its prevention. Adopting some good habits will always lead you to a healthy life, and, in this case, save you from some yeast infection.

  • Starting with something that my mom has always tried to make me do: eat healthy. Have a balanced diet.
  • Then you can have yogurt or take supplements of Lactobacillus to fight away the invading yeast.
  • Wear underwear which can soak water and dries up quickly, such as cotton, linen etc. Yeast needs a damp and moist environment to grow in, and these underwear doesn’t give Candida a chance to overgrow. You should also wash your underwear in hot water.

To every do, there is a don’t as well

So don’t:

  • Wearing tight pants, leggings and pantyhose.
  • Use of scented sanitary napkins and tampons.
  • Prolonged usage of wet clothes.

Taking everything into consideration, it is pretty clear that even if we do get infected (God forbid), we have cure for it (though prevention is better than cure).

Try to consult your doctor as soon as possible since prolonging the yeast infection might lead to uncomfortable conditions. And schedule a regular check-up with your gynaecologist because the vagina is prone to other infections as well.

Picture credits: YouTube

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