Yeast Infection Symptoms
Yeast infections are one of the most common types of infections affecting women. In fact, more than 75% of women have had at least one yeast infection, and more than 50% go on to have recurrent bouts. Unfortunately, yeast infections can be very unpleasant, causing endless itching and scratching, as well as swelling and vaginal discharge. But what exactly causes yeast infections? And how do you find yeast infection treatment? Here is some information to help get you through your yeast infection!
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection is a vaginal infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans. Every woman has a small amount of candida inside of her vagina. Normally, your immune system and the acidic environment of the vagina help to keep this fungus in check. Sometimes however, the body has trouble balancing the amounts of candida and the fungus begins to grow out of control. This often occurs:
- during pregnancy
- when taking the birth control pill
- when taking steroids
- when taking antibiotics
- during your period
Other causes of yeast infections include wearing tightly-fitted clothing (which can cause the vagina to become very hot and moist) or using vaginal douches (which change the bacterial environment inside the vagina).
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
Yeast infection symptoms are relatively easy to identify. Symptoms of yeast infection nclude:
- intense itching in the vagina
- redness and swelling of the vulva (the skin surrounding the vagina)
- a thick, white discharge from the vagina, often resembling cottage cheese
- pain during sexual intercourse
- pain during urination
Complications of Yeast Infections?
Yeast infections generally do not pose any health risks. Some women do develop chronic yeast infections, but this is usually due to inadequate treatment. Sometimes chronic yeast infections are a sign of a compromised immune system, which may be the result of a disorder such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS. Yeast infections can be passed onto sexual partners during intercourse. Most male yeast infections develop after being passed on by an infected female partner.
Yeast Infection Treatment
Yeast infections can usually be treated promptly using over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medications often come in the form of vaginal creams or suppositories. These creams are generally applied for one, three, or seven days. Your health care practitioner can provide you with creams to help reduce the itching caused by your yeast infection. Medication that can be taken orally is also available.
Many women look to home remedies for yeast infections. Though few effective home remedies are available, yogurt does seem to help balance out the number of bacteria present in the vagina. This is because yogurt contains live acidolphus, bacteria that kills off yeast. Simply apply natural yogurt to the vagina daily.
Preventing Yeast Infections
You can prevent recurring yeast infections by following these simple tips:
- Avoid wearing synthetic clothing or underwear. Instead, opt for cotton clothing.
- Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. This will prevent any bacteria present in your rectum from getting into your vagina.
- Change out of swimsuits and other damp clothing as soon as possible.
- Avoid using perfumed or colored toilet paper. These can irritate the vagina.
- Never use a vaginal douche. Douches change the balance of natural bacteria in the vagina, which can increase your risk of yeast infections.