A yeast infection is an infection in your vagina caused by a fungus called Candida. Candida is part of the yeast genus; it is a naturally occurring microorganism that grows in your vagina. Candida is prevented from growing too much by your lactobacillus bacteria. If these bacteria can’t work effectively (maybe because of an imbalance in your system) candida grows wildly, giving you the persistent, irritating, and sometimes extremely painful symptoms associated with vaginal yeast infections. Candida thrives in a moist, warm, airless environment like the inside of your vagina. When they grow in number and cause a vaginal infection, the most important thing you should remember is that itching will most certainly make your infection worse, and irritate your skin until it is raw.
Your vagina, when healthy, contains many different bacteria and yeast. The reason for a yeast infection happening can be as trivial as a change in the type of detergent you wash your sheets with, getting too much soap in your genital area, starting a new birth control, having poor hygiene, or simply feeling overly stressed. The following things are also likely to disturb your vagina’s healthy yet delicate balance:
- Hormone Level Changes
- Vaginal Intercourse
Thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge may come out of your vagina. The lips of your external genital area will become red, irritated, raw, sore, or swollen. You will feel an almost uncontrollable urge to itch down there.
Vaginal yeast infections can be treated by a medical professional, by over-the-counter treatments, or using at-home treatments. The prescription that is given to you to help cure your vaginal yeast infection will most likely be one or more of the following medications:
- Antifungal Vaginal Suppository
- Oral Antifungal: Single Dose
- Topical Antifungal Cream
The over-the-counter treatments available are mostly vaginal creams and suppositories. These nonprescription items are found at most large drugstores and supermarkets. Usually, these treatments come in varying strengths. “One-day” cures, “three-day” cures, and “one-week cures” often contain the same ingredients, just in less concentrated doses. Some vaginal creams can only be used at bedtime because they can be messy once they melt inside of your vagina, and may leak out of your vagina during your daily activities. The topical cream you apply to your vagina will help to relieve itching and treat your external vulvar tissues while the antifungal cream inside treats the vaginal yeast infection itself. Make sure you abstain from sex (if your primary use of birth control comes from a condom or a diaphragm) until your infection goes away. The oil based creams used for these remedies can damage the latex used in a condom.
Home remedies for yeast infections work differently for each woman, and antifungal medications are frequently required to kill the excess fungi created in your vagina. However, despite how effective antifungals and antibiotics can be, sometimes your body won’t respond to those types of treatments. Other common useful methods for dealing with yeast infection symptoms at home includes boric acid, garlic, tea tree oil, vinegar douching, yogurt and probiotics.
Yeast infections can be relentless when they re-occur again and again in your vagina. When vaginal yeast infections come back despite your best efforts, it can be very frustrating. If you have more than four vaginal yeast infections in one year, you have a recurrent yeast infection problem. Between 5 and 8 percent of women have this problem. The reasons for your recurring vaginal yeast infection may be:
A diet high in sugar and yeast will make your yeast infection worse or recurring. There are two genetic mutations that make some women more susceptible to Candida albicans, which is the fungus most responsible for vaginal yeast infection. If you have one of these genetic mutations, there may be nothing your body can do to create key proteins that defend against Candida Albicans. Your partner may have some of the same yeast that you have, and could just be passing it back to you because they are not diagnosed or dealing with the yeast.
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