Yeast infection is an infection in the vagina. This vaginal yeast infection is caused by a fungus that can irritate the tissues and cause discharge from the vaginal opening.
Vaginal yeast infection is also known as vagina candidiasis. It is commonly found in many women who may experience one or more episodes of the infection.
Even though vaginal yeast infection is not sexually transmitted, there is an increased chance of vaginal yeast infection during sexual activity.
How to identify yeast infection?
Vagina yeast infection can range from mild to severe, and the symptoms include,
- Itching in the vagina and vulva
- Irritation in the vagina
- Burning sensation during intercourse
- Burning sensation during urinating
- Swelling of vulva
- Redness of vulva
- Rashes in the vagina
- Vaginal discharge, usually colourless
- Watery vaginal discharge.
The symptoms exhibited when the infection is complicated are as follows.
- Experiencing severe symptoms of redness, swelling or itching
- Episodes of yeast infections occur repeatedly.
- Uncontrollable Diabetes
- Weak immune system
A weak immune system is either caused by a viral infection or can be a side-effect of certain medications.
What causes a vaginal yeast infection?
Fungus candida Albicans is the root cause of a majority of vaginal yeast infections.
The vagina houses a mix of yeast and bacteria. Usually, there is a natural balance between them, and certain bacteria act to prevent the overgrowth of yeast.
When the balance is disrupted, there can be an overgrowth of particular funguses nestled more profound in the vaginal cell layers. These overgrown fungi will cause the symptoms of yeast infection.
Overgrowth of the yeast can be a result of pregnancy, Diabetes, weak immune system, medications and hormone therapy or oral contraceptives.
How are such infections diagnosed?
A doctor would diagnose yeast infection by
- Knowing about the medical history, including information about the previous vaginal or sexually transmitted infections, if any.
- A physical examination can help a doctor examine the external genital to study the signs of infection.
- Testing vaginal secretions can give a doctor a clear understanding of the type of fungus causing the vaginal yeast infection. By identifying the type of a fungus, a doctor can prescribe effective treatment based on that cause.
How is yeast infection treated?
The treatment for yeast infections depends mainly upon the frequency of the condition and how severe the symptoms are.
For mild or moderate symptoms, a doctor might recommend
Short course vaginal therapy
The short course vaginal therapy includes medication for 3 days to 10 days. Your doctor prescribes antifungal medications to clear a yeast infection.
These medications are available as tablets, creams and ornaments. Some are available over-the-counter and others are given only when there is a prescription.
Single dose oral medications
A doctor can prescribe a one-time oral dose of medications like fluconazole to manage severe symptoms and clear the infection.
If the treatment doesn’t work efficiently, the infection might be severe. If the symptoms are severe, a doctor might recommend
Long course vaginal therapy
A doctor can prescribe antifungal medications that must be consumed daily for 14 days or more. The medicines are consumed in cycles. After 14 days, it can be consumed once a week for six months.
Multi-dose oral medications are medications taken by the mouth instead of vaginal therapy. Two or more doses of the medication are prescribed to treat and manage the symptoms efficiently.
However, medications are not recommended for pregnant women.
A doctor can recommend a boric acid capsule inserted into the vagina. It is essential not to consume the medication orally as it can be fatal and is prescribed only to treat the fungus resistant to antifungal agents.
Even though there is no alternative medicine for yeast infection, other complementary and alternative therapies can provide relief when combined with proper medical attention.
What are the risk factors for yeast infection?
Some factors can increase the chances of developing yeast infections.
Use of antibiotics
Yeast infection is common in women who consume antibiotics. Antibiotic medications can kill many bacteria in the body, including the bacteria in the vagina, which leads to the overgrowth of yeast.
High oestrogen level
Vaginal yeast infections are frequent in women with high oestrogen levels. Pregnant women or women who consume high-dose oestrogen birth control pills or take oestrogen hormone therapy can be at risk.
Women who have Diabetes are at a greater risk of developing yeast infections than women who have their blood sugar levels under check.
Weak immune system
Women who have weak immunity or are affected by HIV infection are more prone to yeast infections.
How to prevent a yeast infection?
To reduce the risk of developing vagina infections, it is essential to wear underwear that has a cotton crotch and is not too tight.
Some of the factors that can help prevent yeast infection are as follows
- Hot tubs or hot baths
- Unnecessary use of antibiotics
- Staying in wet clothes for a prolonged period of time and
- Restricting scented feminine products
When to consult a doctor?
It is important to visit a doctor if the symptoms are severe. If symptoms do not subside after consuming over-the-counter medications or applying creams, medical assistance is needed.
To sum up
Yeast infection is a fungal infection usually found in the vagina that causes irritation, itchiness or discharge.
Medications can treat such infections, but recurring results of symptoms require medical attention and a long-term treatment course along with a maintenance plan.
How do you get the yeast infection to go away?
Taking over-the-counter or antifungal medications for a certain number of days can clear the yeast infection.
What does a yeast infection look like?
Redness, itching or swelling outside the vagina can be a yeast infection symptom.
What happens if a yeast infection is left untreated?
If the infection is left untreated, a woman is most likely to develop worse symptoms that can cause severe itching, redness, inflammation and discharge from the area surrounding the vagina. This can further lead to skin infections.
Will a yeast infection go away on its own?
Mild infection can go away on its own, however, such cases are rare. It is always recommended to consult a doctor to manage the symptoms and treat the infection.