A vaginal yeast infection, also called candidiasis, is a common health condition. Naturally, the vagina contains some yeast cells and bacteria. However, the yeast cells multiply when there is a change in the ratio of bacteria and yeasts. In effect, this causes itchiness, swelling, and irritations.
Symptoms can disappear within a few days if treated but may take longer in severe cases. Vaginal yeast infections sometimes get spread through sexual contact. However, women who are not sexually active can also get them.
Causes of Yeast Infections
The vaginal area has yeast candida, a naturally occurring microorganism. The lactobacillus bacteria control the growth of these yeasts in the vagina. These bacteria would not work efficiently if there was an imbalance in the system. Imbalances result in the excessive growth of yeasts and cause the symptoms of a yeast infection. Other factors that can cause a yeast infection are:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Frail immune system
- Hormonal imbalance
- The use of antibiotics (which reduces the amount of lactobacillus in the vagina)
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
Some common symptoms include:
- Itchiness in the vaginal area
- Redness and soreness
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Swelling around the vaginal area
- Pain during sex
- Whitish-yellow discharge
Diagnosis of Yeast Infections
It is easy to diagnose a yeast infection. Doctors are likely to ask about your medical history when trying to diagnose you — asking whether or not you’ve had a vaginal yeast infection before or any STDs.
The next action is a pelvic exam. The doctor examines your cervix and vaginal walls for signs of an infection. Depending on what they see, the doctor may also collect cells from your vagina. Women who experience vaginal yeast infections regularly are advised to undergo lab tests.
How To Treat Yeast Infections
Treatment for a yeast infection is dependent on the severity of the symptoms exhibited. Doctors usually recommend a week’s usage of an antifungal cream, tablet, ointment, or suppository. Other medications used for treating yeast infections are:
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)
- Terconazole (Terazol)
- Butoconazole (Gynazole)
- Fluconazole (Diflucan)
- Miconazole (Monistat)
How to Manage Yeast Infections
There are home remedies that can help you manage yeast infections. Although they are not as effective as medication, they are easily accessible. These remedies include applying any of the following:
- Coconut oil
- Boric acid vaginal suppositories
- Tea tree oil cream
- Plain yogurt (taken orally)
Ensure your hands are clean before applying any of the above to your vagina. It is advisable to talk to your doctor before going with natural remedies since your symptoms might be due to something other than a yeast infection.
Yeast Infections in Men
Men get yeast infections just like women. In men, it is called a penile yeast infection. Every gender has candida — not just the female body. When this fungus overgrows, it can cause a yeast infection. The groin area in men is particularly prone to candida overgrowth because of moisture in the skin folds.
Yet, penile yeast infections are mostly caused by having unprotected vaginal sex with someone who has a yeast infection. You can help prevent a yeast infection by practicing safe sex. Symptoms of yeast infections in men may not be as obvious. You might see white patches along the penis, redness, experience itchiness, and feel a burning sensation. If you think you have a penile yeast infection, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
- What causes yeast infections? Yeast infections result from an increase in the level of yeast already present in the genitals.
- How can a vaginal yeast infection be prevented? There are several ways to prevent yeast infections. These ways include consuming yogurt with active bacterial cultures, wearing cotton or silk underwear to reduce excess moisture, changing your underwear frequently, and staying away from douching and feminine hygiene sprays.
- Are yeast infections considered sexually transmitted diseases? Yeast vaginitis is not considered to be an STD because yeasts are present in a healthy vagina. Yeast infections also may occur in women who are not sexually active.
- What is the most common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection? Itchiness in the vaginal area is the most common symptom. Other symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include a thick-whitish discharge, pain during urination, a burning sensation, redness, and pain during intercourse.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!