Yeast Infection (vaginal): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

yeast infection

A vaginal yeast infection is an uncomfortable, itchy fungal infection that is very common in women.

About 75 percent of the women will have a vaginal yeast infection once in their life.

The vagina has a balanced amount of bacteria and yeast that kill harmful organisms and when this balance is upset a fungus called candida increases and leads to vaginal yeast infection.

Hence, this yeast infection is also known as candidiasis.

You can treat them with creams or medications but it is better to do so in time.

This is an extensive article on Vaginal Yeast Infection. Learn about the causes symptoms and treatment of this infection to treat it timely.

candida yeast infection fungus

Symptoms of Yeast Infection

You may have a vaginal yeast infection if you feel that the vaginal area is itchy and irritates.

The main symptom in fact is itchiness and irritation in the vulva as well as the vagina.

Though the extent may differ from mild to moderate forms of discomfort.

Other symptoms include that you may notice some swelling around your vulva also some redness in that area.

It is likely you get some pain and soreness in that area as well as a rash.

Also sometimes you may notice a vaginal discharge that is either thick or watery and white but odorless.

It is also common to feel a burning sensation while passing out urine or during intercourse.

If you have any of these symptoms then you may have a case of mild yeast infection.

However, if you get more than four infections in a year then it is probable that your condition is severe.

Moreover, your symptoms may also worsen and along with redness and itching you can have tears and sores around your vulva and vagina.

It is also possible that your infection is not due to candida but a rarer type that can lead to complications.

Complications may arise if you are pregnant, have diabetes or have a weak immunity due to other diseases and infections such as HIV.

Visit your doctor as soon as you feel any of these symptoms.

Other infections such as bacterial vaginosis have similar symptoms hence you need to differentiate between yeast infection and a more severe one.

You should also revisit if anti-fungal creams do not relieve you and your infection persists.

Your doctor will try to tap into the reasons that cause your infection.

More about it below.

yeast infection causes on a petri dish

Yeast Infection Causes

The vagina contains a healthy balance of yeast as well as bacteria.

The fungus candida is well balanced by the bacteria lactobacillus that controls the growth of bacteria in the vagina.

Yeast infection occurs when that balance disrupts.

Candida can penetrate the deeper cell layers of the vagina and can overgrow.

This can cause yeast infections by the most common fungus type Candida Albicans.

It is in fact harder to treat infections by other types of fungus.

The reasons for the overgrowth of yeast infection include:

  • Diabetes

If you do not control your diabetes well then there can be sugar increases in the moist linings around your vagina.

This helps the fungus to grow and lead to infection.

  •  Using vaginal sprays

If you use any douches or sprays for the vagina then it can imbalance the bacteria and fungus in that area.

  • Antibiotics

Antibiotics can disrupt the natural vaginal flora.

It is likely that they can also kill the good bacteria that control the overgrowth of fungus in the vagina, hence, creating an imbalance.

  • Hormones

If your body is undergoing changes such as pregnancy, menopause or breastfeeding then it is possible that the natural balance of your vagina changes.

Birth control pills and hormone therapy can also increase the levels of estrogen which will affect the balance in the vagina.

  • Weakened Immune System

If you suffer from conditions such as HIV infection or have other immune system diseases and take therapies like corticosteroid therapy, then it may be hard to control the yeast growth in your vagina.

  •  Sexual transmission

Yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection but it can pass to other people through contact.

Though there is a risk of contracting it in the first regular contact.

Hence, it isn’t exactly a sexually transmitted disease but you and your sexual partner may be at risk.

  • Other factors

Other less known factors such as hormonal imbalance before menstruation, taking lots of stress and lack of sleep can all affect the balance of the bacteria and yeast in your vagina.

Candidiasis treatment

Yeast Infection Treatment

Your doctor will begin by taking your medical history and ask about previous vaginal infections.

Then they will proceed to take a pelvic exam.

They will observe your external genitals as well as your vagina and cervix through a speculum.

Other than a pelvic exam they may also choose to test your vaginal fluid.

They will take a sample of the vaginal secretions to determine the type of fungus whose overgrowth is causing the infection.

These tests will help determine the treatment plan and what treatment better suits your condition.

It is easy to cure mild to moderate infections with antifungal medications.

If you have a moderate infection then the doctor may prescribe you a short course vaginal therapy.

A yeast infection cream, a yeast infection medicine and ointment can be all forms of anti-fungal medications.

You can take or apply them regularly between three to seven days to completely clear yourself of the infection.

It is also likely to get an oral dose of a yeast infection treatment pill.

You can take a one-time dose of fluconazole or two doses a few days apart.

However, you should not take it if you are pregnant.

It is very likely that your symptoms will go away with this treatment.

Mild to a moderate yeast infection can cure with even creams and ointments.

However, there is still a chance that it may recur after two months.

You will have to visit your doctor again if that happens and if these symptoms are severe this time, they will probably devise a different treatment.

This includes:

Long Course therapy: Instead of three to four days, these antifungal medicine courses will last up to 6 months.

This includes taking the meds once every week.

More doses of Oral medication: You may get a single dose of oral medicine if you have a mild case of infection however, if you have a severe one then you can take multiple doses as per the prescription.

Azole-resistant therapy: This is a kind of capsule that the doctor inserts in your vagina.

It is not taken orally and is fatal to do so but its directly application helps to treat the fungus that other treatments could not treat.

These treatments can cure yeast infection and heal your vagina. Hence, medical advice is necessary.

However, you can also try some natural and home remedies to lessen the growth of yeast.

woman eating yogurt

Natural Remedies

You may want to experiment a little with natural remedies to treat yeast infection.

However, these will not work in the same manner as medicines and ointments.

Some popular remedies are the add plain yogurt and garlic to your diet.

You can also try using tea tree oil cream and coconut oil.

You should have clean hands before applying yogurt and oils to the infection area.

Moreover, it is much better to contact your doctor before trying any of these remedies yourself.

Yogurt can help decrease the growth of the fungus. An alternative can also be Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements.

Prevention

Vaginal yeast infection is curable but it is also very well preventable.

Every 3 in 4 women will get this yeast infection once in their lifetime.

It is also possible to know the cause of your infection and how you can stop its reoccurrence.

You should eat a healthy diet with yogurt and Lactobacillus supplements to prevent it from happening again.

You should not wear tight underwear and the material should be cotton, silk or linen.

Additionally, wash them in hot water and replace your feminine products regularly.

Moreover, you should avoid douching and using any vaginal sprays that remove the good bacteria in your vulva and vagina.

Another thing you should avoid is taking more hot water baths, especially in bathtubs.

You should avoid wearing tight clothing like tights and leggings.

Also, be wary of unnecessary antibiotic use.

You do not need antibiotics for a normal cold, fever or any viral infection.

Taking antibiotics unnecessarily will only disrupt the balance of good bacteria and yeast.

Therefore, you should only take antibiotics when the doctor prescribes them.

You may also not want to use scented feminine hygiene products.

These include pads, tampons, deodorants, sprays and bubble baths.

Additionally, you should avoid staying longer in wet clothes such as swimsuits and exercise clothing.

yeast infection prevention animated chart

Summing Up

It is easy to prevent Vaginal Yeast Infection and only requires you to show some concern and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

However, once you have the infection, make sure to treat it timely because it can create complications for your particular case.

The treatment isn’t extensive either except in cases of prolonged infection.

Hence Yeast Infection is curable and also preventable.

Though you can do that by making sure you live a healthy lifestyle and implementing good living habits.

Be well and healthy!

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