A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that results in discomfort, discharge and extreme itchiness in the vagina (the tissue at the vaginal opening). It is also called candidiasis and affects 3 out of every 4 women at some point in their life.
Candida albicans is the most common type of fungus that results in yeast infections. Vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease, but there is a high risk of getting infected at the time of first sexual intercourse. Women who are not sexually active can also get infected.
Fungus Candida is a microorganism that lives in the vaginal area and lactobacillus bacteria control its growth. Any imbalance in the system, the bacteria may not work effectively and leads to an overgrowth of yeast which results in vaginal yeast infections. Some of the factors may trigger yeast infections include antibiotics which lessen the growth of good bacteria, pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, compromised immune system, hormonal imbalance stress, and poor sleep.
- Itching and irritation
- Burning sensation while urinating or during sexual intercourse
- Pain, redness and swelling in the vagina
- Rashes and soreness in the vagina
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Thick, white, odour -free discharge
Diagnosis And Treatment
A doctor will do a complete medical assessment to collect information about any past vaginal infections or sexual diseases. Perform a pelvic exam to assess the vagina and cervix to rule out any external vaginal infections. The doctor may also suggest doing a vaginal fluid test to determine the nature of fungus causing infection and provide effective treatment to control recurrent fungal infection.
Treatment of vaginal infections is typically based on the severity and frequency of fungal infections. For mild to moderate and infrequent fungal infection doctors may recommend antifungal medications like creams, ointments, tablets and suppositories both prescription and over the counter medication. To treat severe symptoms doctors may prescribe single-dose oral medications. In more severe infections and recurrent infections, doctors may suggest long-term vaginal therapy for two weeks regularly, multi-dose oral antifungal medications and resistant therapy if all other treatment options fail. Also Read: Clotrimazole: Feel Good from the Inside Out
- To reduce the risk of fungal infections and avert recurrently infections follow these simple preventive measures which include:
- Wear comfortable fitting innerwear with a cotton crotch and which does not fit tightly.
- Avoid douching which clears off the normal bacteria in the vagina that shields you from infection
- Avoid scented feminine products, pads and tampons
- Avoid talking self-medication or unwanted antibiotics for cold, cough or fever
- Refrain from being in swimsuits and wet clothes for a longer duration.