Vaginal Yeast Infection (Female Yeast Infection) – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Remedies

Female yeast infection or Vaginal Yeast Infection is caused by yeast called Candida albicans and this is the most common vaginal problem in women. Many other diseases like trichomoniasis and vaginosis also have similar symptoms like that of yeast infection. As such this type of vaginal infection is harmless and involves very simple treatment. Normally the vagina of a woman contains number of good bacteria and yeast cells. When the number of bad bacteria exceeds the number of good ones, it may result in yeast infection. The yeast will dwell on these bacteria destroying the balance and causing infection. All these symptoms will be prominent before the onset of menstrual cycle.

Treating female yeast infection is simple. Plenty of home remedies such as applying yoghurt on the affected vagina, using antifungal cream etc. are available. Alternatively you can also use over the counter medications for treating yeast infection. Antifungal ointments, antifungal pills can give remedy to reduce swelling. But you should indulge in sex activity until the infection gets completely cured and the vagina become dry. Vaginal yeast infection can be prevented if you follow genital hygiene. Always ensure that you are keeping the vagina clean. Frequently change pads so that you are clean. Do not wear tight fitting panties and jeans which prevent letting out of moisture and sweat.

What Are Vaginal Yeast Infections?

According to the data given by the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, about 75% of all women would have had yeast infection at least once in their life.

Genitals of women (vagina) contain yeast in small numbers under normal conditions.  Weakened immunity or sudden use of antibiotics can disturb the normal balance of bacteria/yeast favoring growth of large number of yeast cells. This can lead to female yeast infection. Such kind of infections is common and almost every woman would have experienced this at some point in her life. Yeast infection is not bothersome and can be treated easily. It is caused often by Candia which can cause pain while passing urine, cottage cheese like discharge from the vagina and persistent itching on the vagina. This is not a type of sexual infection and in medical terms is called as VVC. (Vulvo vaginal Candidiasis).

Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms :

Some of the signs of female yeast infection are itching of vagina (often persistent and uncontrollable), thick white discharge (cottage cheese like) from the vagina, inflammation of skin around the vagina, change in color of the vagina (becomes bright red), pain during urination and while having sex.

Some of these symptoms resemble sexually transmitted diseases but yeast infection is not transmitted through sex. Often the onset of the above signs occurs one week before monthly periods. For some women the symptoms are severe and complicated and for some others it can be recurrent having 4 or more episodes in a year. Women with prolonged diabetes and pregnant women are more likely to have complicated yeast infection than others.

Causes Of Vaginal Yeast Infection :

The fungus by name Candida albicans is the root cause for female yeast infection. Vagina contains both good and bad bacteria in varying proportions. Lactobacillus is a kind of good bacteria that checks on the overgrowth of yeast cells. However due to some reason, number of good bacteria may reduce in number leading to multiplication of bad bacteria.  This condition can cause yeast infection. Intake of antibiotics (for some other problem) can lower the number of lactobacillus leading to overgrowth of yeast. Some other causes can disturb the pH balance of vagina include uncontrolled diabetes, weakened immunity, being pregnant and using oral contraceptives suddenly. Sudden increase of estrogen hormone and undergoing hormone therapy can also cause yeast infection.

Vaginal Yeast Infection Risk Factors :

  • Women with problems in their immune system or using immunosuppressant drugs are at risk of yeast infection.
  • Women with overweight and with increased blood sugar levels are also at risk of yeast infection.
  • Vaginal douching can collapse the normal balance of the vagina favoring yeast infection.
  • Using many brands of perfumes and sprays in the vagina directly can trigger yeast infection.

Diagnosis :

Your doctor would listen to the symptoms and do a pelvic exam. He might place a sterilized instrument into the vaginal opening so that he could get clear view of the vagina. The doctor may collect sample fluid from the vagina for testing it in the laboratory.

Vaginal Yeast Infection Treatment :

  • It is easy to treat female yeast infection by giving either short-term or long term vaginal therapy. Yeast can be treated with antifungal medications, ointments and suppositories. Short term therapy for 3 days or 7 days is enough for clearing mild to moderate infection.
  • Drugs like Gynazole 1, Gyne Lotrimin or Monistat 3 is given in the form of oral pills or as creams.  These medications may cause slight burning sensation on the vagina.
  • Similarly vaginal suppositories are highly effective for treating yeast infection.
  • For women with severe and prolonged yeast infection long course therapy is recommended and the drugs are given for 14 days or even more. High strength/dose of fluconazole is given orally.
  • Often it is suggested to maintain the therapy to prevent further infections of yeast in the vagina. In more severe cases the medications are to be continued for 6 months along with weekly once therapy with vaginal suppository.
  • It is not mandatory for your sex partner to take treatment for yeast infection. But if the symptoms are the same for your partner, he may require same treatment.

Pictures of  Vaginal Yeast Infection :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Female Yeast infection

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Pregnancy :

For women who are pregnant, customized plans for suggested for treating yeast infection. It is not advised to use over the counter drugs during pregnancy. It is safe to consult your doctor before using any medication/suppository for yeast infection. A woman is said to have recurrent vaginal infection if she gets it 4 or more times in a year. In such cases the doctor may change his treatment plan completely.

Prevention :

Vaginal yeast infection cannot be totally prevented because certain things are beyond one’s control. However you can reduce the risk factors considerably by taking certain precautions and following specific lifestyle.

  1. Healthy Diet – Choose a healthy diet plan that includes plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Avoid fatty products and preservatives in your food.
  2. If you are diabetic, take every step to control and maintain right levels of blood sugar. Until the blood sugar levels are in control you are not at risk of yeast infection.
  3. Avoid vaginal douching. By over-cleaning the vagina you are destroying good bacteria in large quantities thereby giving room for the growth of yeast.
  4. Take antibiotics only if prescribed.
  5. Do not change the soap or perfumes or sprays often. Always choose mild soap for cleaning the vagina.
  6. It is necessary to keep the rectum area clean and dry since there is chance of spread of infection back and forth.
  7. Don’t wear tight fitting panties or jeans which may not allow moisture inside.
  8. During monthly periods, change your pads often. Leaving the genital area wet for long can make you prone to vaginal yeast infection.

Vaginal Yeast Infection Home Remedies :

Plenty of home remedies are there for treating vaginal yeast infection. But please do not try any of these if the symptoms are severe. All the below given remedies are applicable only for mild yeast infection. And any of these is not supported by medical evidence.

  • Yoghurt is effective for vaginal yeast infection. Apply cold yoghurt on the vaginal walls and you can cover the area with a pad to leave it overnight.
  • Coconut oil is an excellent remedy for controlling itching due to its antifungal property. You can apply few drops of coconut oil on the irritated skin and gently massage it.
  • Tea tree oil is also a good solution for vaginal yeast infection. Apply few drops of oil for 2-3 times a day on the vagina to get relief from symptoms of itching and discomfort.
  • Alternatively you can consider using apple cider Vinegar or cranberry juice on the infected vagina. Over the counter boric acid suppository can be used for treating female yeast infection.
  • Sitz Bath – Sitting in the bathtub filled with lukewarm water gives good relief from pain and irritation.

Prognosis :

Vaginal yeast infection can be treated fully by taking the prescribed drugs by your doctor. Be careful and take steps to reduce the risk of infection.

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