Must Know about yeast Infection (vaginal)
Vaginal yeast infection which is also called vulvovaginal candidiasis (big word right?) is a fungal infection and the major organism causing this infection is Candida Albicans. It is very common and it affects 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lives. Candida is normally found in the vagina but an overgrowth can disrupt the normal pH balance leading to yeast infection. It can occur in the penis and scrotum in men leading to itching, burning, and pain but it is more common in women. Yeast infection is not an STD but it can be transmitted during sexual intercourse.
Yeast infection can also be found in the throat, mouth, tongue this is known as oral thrush.
- Hormones: Changes in hormonal level during pregnancy, menopause, breastfeeding, or taking of birth control pills can change the pH of the vagina making you at risk for yeast infections.
- Antibiotics: While the use of antibiotics can be helpful in killing bacteria, overuse can kill off the good bacterial of the vagina (normal flora), leading to infection so take medications only as prescribed by your Doctor
- Vaginal sprays
- Weakened immune system: This is usually seen in HIV patients, steroid users, and chemotherapy patients.
- Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes will cause an increase in blood sugar level and mucus lining of vagina thereby promoting the growth of yeast
- Sexual intercourse: Yeast is not considered a sexually transmitted infection but it can be transmitted from person to person via sexual contact.
Some symptoms of this infection include:
- Vaginal redness and swelling
- Rash on the vagina
- Burning sensation when you pee
- Pain and soreness of the vagina
- Watery vaginal discharge (usually thick and whitish classically described as a cottage cheese appearance)
If you suspect you have a yeast infection, please see your doctor before commencing any self-medication.
This is done using antifungal medication. Examples include:
- Over the counter antifungal ointments or suppositories like miconazole (Micatin) or clotrimazole(Gyne-Lotrimin, Mycelex). These are the most common ways to treat fungal infections and they can take about 1 to 7days to work.
- Your doctor can prescribe a single dose of Fluconazole (Diflucan) by mouth.
- For yeast infections that reoccur after treatment for at least 4 times a year, your doctor may prescribe a regular dose of Fluconazole for about 6 months. Other medications such as Boric acid, flucytosine, or nystatin are applied intravaginally.
- Avoid the drugs taken by mouth if you are pregnant. It is safer to use creams or suppositories like those mentioned above.
NOTE: Some antifungal medications weaken condoms or Diaphragms making it easy for you to get pregnant or contract an infection. Read instructions and warnings before using or ask your doctor for clarification.
Avoid sexual intercourse during treatment.
Can probiotics help to prevent a yeast infection?
Some studies have shown that taking probiotics (healthy bacteria that are normally found in the body) and probiotic-containing yogurt can help slow down the growth of yeast thereby decreasing the risk of infection.
Stay safe and follow the necessary precaution
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