What are Vaginal Yeast Infections?
Vaginal yeast infections are very common. You may experience a yeast infection multiple times during your lifetime. The symptoms include itchiness, burning, redness, and a white vaginal discharge. The culprit behind this infection is a yeast that is normally present in your body: candida. Yeasts are a subtype of fungi. In normal conditions, the balance of the organisms in the vaginal microbiome is such that the yeast does not overgrow. A disruption in this balance, however, provides an opportunity for candida to overgrow and lead to a yeast infection.
Other terms used to describe vaginal yeast infections are vaginal candidiasis and vulvovaginal candidiasis. This condition falls under the category of vaginitis – a condition in which the vagina is painful, swollen, and produces a discharge. The symptoms of many different types of vaginitis are similar, but yeast infections are the most common form of vaginitis.
How can Vaginal Yeast Infections be treated?
Before treating vaginal yeast infection, you should be aware that there are various types of yeast. Your physician will recommend treatment based on the type of yeast infection you have. Vaginal yeast infections are typically treated using antifungal medications that prevent the overgrowth of yeast in the vagina.
The mode of administration of the drugs may be topical or oral. The former is applied to the affected area while the latter is taken by mouth. Clotrimazole, boric acid, miconazole, and nystatin are some of the topical medications for vaginal yeast infection. Information about the medication and the directions for application can be obtained from your healthcare provider. Make sure that you follow these instructions fully to have a complete recovery and to avoid the recurrence of the infection.
Are over-the-counter treatments for Yeast Infections effective?
Vaginal yeast infections can sometimes be treated using OTC medications. However, unless you are sure that it is a yeast infection, it is best to avoid medications. Talking to a healthcare provider is the best way to ensure that you obtain the correct treatment for your condition. Regardless of your situation, it is always best to proactively care for your health, exercise and have a quality diet supported by supplements such as vaginal probiotics.
Are there any ways to prevent Vaginal Yeast Infections?
Lifestyle modifications can prevent vaginal yeast infections in many cases. Some lifestyle modifications you may wish to consider include:
- Avoiding douching to prevent killing the bacteria that inhibit candida overgrowth
- Not using feminine deodorants
- Opting for water-based lubricants
- Avoiding scented pads and tampons
- Removing wet clothes, such as bathing suits, as soon as possible
In case you suffer from diabetes, keeping your blood glucose levels in check is also essential for maintaining the normal flora of the vagina and preventing yeast infections.
Vaginal yeast infections can mimic many other conditions because of the similarity of symptoms. It is a good idea to go to your doctor for a physical examination so that you obtain the correct diagnosis.
How can I deal with recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections?
Talk to your physician if you suffer from frequent vaginal yeast infections. Your physician may perform tests to confirm if you have a vaginal yeast infection or some other condition. You may also undergo tests for diabetes (blood sugar test) and test for HIV. The yeast infection could also be related to hormonal changes due to pregnancy or birth control.
The test results will help your physician form the correct diagnosis to get you started with the correct treatment plan. Finding the underlying cause is crucial for treating vaginal yeast infection and preventing yeast infections in the future.