VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS
A vaginal yeast infection which is also known as vaginal candidiasis is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva (the tissues at the vaginal opening).
Some Facts about Vaginal Yeast Infection (Vaginal Candidiasis)
- It affects up to 3 out of 4 women (75% of women) at some point in their lifetimes.
- Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by the organism Candida albicans.
- The main symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is itching, but burning, discharge, and pain with urination or during intercourse can also occur.
- It is possible for a woman to transmit a yeast infection to a male sex partner, although yeast infection is not considered to be a true sexually-transmitted disease (STD) because it can occur in women who are not sexually active.
Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Yeast infection symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and the tissues at the vaginal opening (vulva)
- A burning sensation during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Thick, white, odour-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- Watery discharge
Sometimes a more complicated yeast infection may occur, with more severe symptoms. Four or more infections may arise in one year. There may be severe redness, swelling, and itching, leading to skin fissures or sores.
Medical conditions that can cause a complicated/severe yeast infection include pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, having a weakened immune system, and the presence of an alternate Candida fungus, as opposed to Candida albicans.
Causes of Yeast infection (Candidiasis)
The fungus Candida is a naturally occurring micro-organism in the vaginal area. Lactobacillus bacteria keep its growth in check. But if there is an imbalance in your system, these bacteria won’t work effectively. This leads to an overgrowth of yeast, which causes the symptoms of vaginal yeast infections.
Factors that increase your risk of developing a Yeast Infection include:
- Antibiotics ( they decrease the amount of good bacteria [Lactobacillus] in the vagina)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Weak immune system
- Poor eating habits, including a lot of sugary foods
- Hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle
- Lack of sleep
Prevention of Vaginal Yeast Infection
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Eating yogurt or taking supplements with lactobacillus
- Wearing natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or silk
- Drying underwear under the sun.
- Replacing feminine products frequently
- Wearing tight pants, pantyhose, tights, or leggings
- Using feminine deodorant or scented tampons or pads
- Sitting around in wet clothing, especially bathing suits
- Sitting in hot tubs or taking frequent hot baths
- Wearing underwear during bedtime, this prevent the vagina to be aerated
- Abuse of antibiotics. Take them only when prescribed and exactly as prescribed.
Treatment of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Contact your healthcare provider if you have the above symptoms since these symptoms are similar to those caused by other vaginal infections like sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and urinary tract infection (UTI) besides candidiasis.
Your doctor may do some investigations. VC is treated with anti-fungal medications either applied inside the vagina or taken by mouth.
Some Natural Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
- Yogurt and probiotics.
- Boric acid.
- Tea tree oil