Quite a few girls have been there. More than what most of us would care to admit. Squirming and shifting, trying to find absolutely any position that provides some relief to the land down under.
Maybe you are a little put off by the scent that is traveling up from there. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in. You certainly don’t want it to be like that for a very long time.
Vaginal Yeast Infections are actually incredibly common in women. How common? An estimated 75% of all women go through it at least once.
If you visualize it, it’s a scary 3 out of 4 women who suffer from this disease and absolutely nobody talking about it.
Everyone is susceptible to catching a yeast infection and needs to understand how this disease works to ensure that they don’t catch it in the future and if they do, they have the required tools to help make the experience a lot less unpleasant.
Candida is a yeast that inhabits the skin, mouth, throat, and vagina. It is only when this yeast becomes overgrown that issues start arising. This infection, also called candidal vaginitis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, and vaginal candidiasis can happen at any time to almost anyone.
Still, the good news is that if caught early, it is possible to control and eliminate it quickly.
Usually, a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast regulate the vagina. Estrogen, found in the vagina, actually helps a bacteria called lactobacilli to grow and kill harmful organisms in the vagina and keep it healthy. When this balance is hurt that you develop a yeast infection.
This is not a sexually transmitted disease, but the risk of contracting it does increase exponentially after the first occurrence of sexual activity. There are also some studies that suggest that infections might actually originate from mouth to genital contact (oral-genital sex).
Yeast infections manifest themselves in various forms and through multiple symptoms. They range in severity from moderate to severe.
● Itching and irritation of the vulva and the vagina
● A burning sensation that seems to crop up during urinating or during intercourse.
● Swelling and redness of the vulva
● Pain in the vagina
● Development of a rash around the vagina
● Vaginal discharge with a thick, white, odor-free consistency akin to cottage cheese
● Greenish or yellow vaginal discharge that smells similar to yeast or bread
● Watery discharge from the vagina
You may experience some or all of these symptoms, depending on the severity of the situation. If you, by any chance, have a feeling that you might have a yeast infection consult a doctor. Many of the symptoms associated with a yeast infection also overlap with symptoms of much more serious problems.
These problems can be sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial vaginosis, both incredibly lethal diagnosis to arrive at.
The fungus candida Albicans is to blame for most vaginal yeast infections. A vagina usually contains a healthy balance of yeast, amongst other things. But if a foreign agent comes along, disrupting the balance of the vagina and all hell breaks loose.
So, what are the things that you need to be wary of when it comes to a yeast infection and your vagina?
These nasty rascals tend to be pretty terrible on a day to day basis, but here too, they have a hand to play. During pregnancy, menopause, and breastfeeding, they can change the balance of the bacteria.
If you have diabetes and it is not well controlled, the increased sugar levels in your body translates to increased levels of sugar in the mucous membranes (moist linings ) of the vagina and create a perfect habitat for the yeast to grow and thrive.
The problem with antibiotics is that they do not differentiate between good and bad bacteria while working. It just merely kills off all bacteria. So you can say bye-bye to the good bacteria present in your vagina.
Douches and Vaginal Sprays
Let’s make one thing clear, your vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism in place. This mechanism does not require the interference of a PH balancing product to be healthy. All they manage to do is screw up the balance of bacteria in your vagina.
A Compromised Immune System
If you have any autoimmune disorder or are HIV positive, your chances of contracting a yeast infection become more probable. This applies to almost any disease in this case. A person with a lowered immune system has increased chances of catching any illness.
Even though a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection, it can be passed through sexual contact between two people.
Increased Estrogen Levels
Yeast infections are primarily found in women due to the increased levels of estrogen they have. If by chance, they are on any birth control medication or estrogen hormone therapy, their chances of contracting an infection become higher.
Steps to Diagnose a Yeast Infection
When you go to a doctor to figure out a yeast infection, chances are they will ask you a standard set of questions. We have outlined the direction your appointment might end up taking.
1. Inquire About Your Medical History
This step establishes whether or not you have had the same issue previously or if it is a new occurrence. Often times the symptoms of a yeast infection and STD are similar, and that leads to some confusion. This helps rule out STDs as an option.
2. Do A Pelvic Exam
Think of a pap smear, this is along the same lines. Your external genitals are examined for any signs of the infection. Then an instrument called a speculum is placed inside your vagina to hold the vaginal walls open. This is done so that your vagina and cervix can be examined.
The vagina and cervix are the lower, narrower parts of the uterus, thus not as easily accessible.
3. Run Tests on The Vaginal Secretions
The doctor may collect a sample of the secretion being caused by the infection. This vaginal fluid will then be sent for further testing to determine the type of fungus causing the problems.
Identification of the fungus helps in establishing a more targeted course of treatment and also helps in determining the underlying cause for the infection.
4. Tests To Determine An Infection
When it comes to yeast infections, two major tests are primarily run on the vaginal sample.
Vaginal Wet Mount
For this test, the person running the test mixed your sample of vaginal discharge with a salt solution. This solution is then put on a glass slide to be studied under a microscope.
This test studies the number of Candida microbes and white blood cells that are in the sample. If an abnormally large number is present, that indicates that you have an infection.
This test is also a great way to rule out infections like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
This test swaps out the salt solution with potassium hydroxide. This is done to kill the good bacteria and the vaginal cells present in the sample.
The elimination of those two leaves only the fungus, making it easy to identify and diagnose.
The good part of a yeast infection is that it is treatable, and it begins to respond to the treatment in a couple of days, but if your vagina still doesn’t seem to get better with the prescribed treatment plan, schedule a visit to a doctor again.
There are two ways that most common issues can be treated. One is Over the counter, and the other is prescribed medication. This further bifurcated depending on the severity of the infection.
Short Course Vaginal Treatment
An antifungal treatment course is usually for three to seven days. The treatment can be either an oral medicine or an ointment or a combination of both.
This is a relatively stronger dose of fluconazole. This is usually not prescribed to pregnant women, and even if it is two doses are given over a gap or two to three days.
Usually, this is good enough to clear a one-time infection, but if your symptoms continue to persist, other treatment options might be explored.
Long Course Vaginal Therapy
Medication is administered daily for about two weeks, with medication, then giving once a week for about six months.
Multi-Dose Oral Medication
You are given multiple doses of medication to be taken orally instead of vaginally. This is once again discouraged in the case of pregnant women.
Azole Resistant Therapy
If by some sad chance, you managed to catch one of the strains of Candida fungus that is drug-resistant, you will be given a boric acid tablet to be inserted in your vagina. Be careful as this medicine can be fatal if taken orally and is used only in the most severe cases.
There is a lot available in the market when it comes to treating a yeast infection ( that is how common it is. We have listed the most commonly prescribed medication on the market. We have not mentioned boric acid as it isn’t widely prescribed and only given in the most severe of cases.
Over the Counter Creams
There is an array of topical preparations that can be purchased over the counter and can be personalized as a single dose or a 3-7 day regimen. They usually have an applicator that makes it easier to measure the right dosage before applying.
If you have been prescribed a vaginal tablet, then you place it in your vagina and then wait for it to dissolve
● Clotrimazole (Mycelex & Lotrimin)
● Tioconazole (Vagistat-1)
● Miconazole (Micatin & Monistat)
The thing with these creams and tablets is that the more concentrated the drug is, the shorter the course is for taking it. You can even figure out how many days you have to take it for by the number on the cream, if 7 is written then you have to take it for 7 days and so on. Prescription medication is much stronger.
● Butoconazole (Gynazole-1)
● Terconazole (Terazol)
Yeast Infection Pills
Most women prefer taking the medication orally instead of intravaginally.
If there is a drug of choice that is administered orally, it is these.
● Fluconazole (Diflucan)
The fun fact to learn here that if you take a single dose of 150mg of fluconazole, it stays in your vaginal secretions for at least 72 hours after you take it.
There are also specific home remedies that people employ to treat a yeast infection.
Tea Tree Oil
This is famed for its anti-fungal properties and has the confirmed ability to kill a wide variety of yeasts and fungi.
Certain vaginal suppositories actually contain tea tree oil that helps them treat fungal infections. However, it should be used with extreme caution as the vaginal walls are extremely sensitive.
Certain studies in their preliminary stages have shown that having probiotic supplements or yogurt may be responsible for slowing the growth of yeast cells in the vagina, therefore lowering the risk of infection.
There is an age-old adage that most issues that happen to women are either societal conditioning or capitalist gain.
So, also on the same lines are all the things you should do to avoid a yeast infection.
● Avoid tight-fitting underwear or pantyhose
● Douching is bad. You don’t have to externally clean your vagina, that is a myth.
● Perfume of any kind in feminine products i.e., bubble baths, tampons, and pads.
● Hot showers and tubs
● Avoid antibiotic use, as it kills even the good bacteria present in the body.
● Avoid staying in wet clothes for an extended period of time, as that may cause an acceleration of the infection. Wet clothes refer to both workouts as well as swimwear attire.
Other Types Of Yeast Infections
Even though Yeast infections as a term is usually associated with women and the vulvalogical area, different forms of yeast infections can crop up in different parts of the body and then they are not just limited to the gender. It can show up on different regions of the skin.
Some commonly seen symptoms include
● Growth of white patches on the mouth and throat
● Difficulty in eating due to redness and soreness
● Having cottonmouth
● Absence of taste buds
● Inflamed gans( the end of the penis)
● Having trouble while urinating
● Unpleasant discharge or a foul smell emerging from the penis
The truth of the matter is that the awareness surrounding yeast infections is deplorable even though the frequency with which women suffer from it is inversely proportional. It is essential that there be a conversation around it so that the correct treatment for the treatment can be availed.
Where Can I Get Treated For a Yeast Infection?
If you have a preferred health physician then making your way there would be a good idea, but if you don’t have one, you need not worry. We live in an age where they are multiple resources available to us.
You can check websites like Online Medical Clinics where you can rest assured you will be treated by a board-certified doctor. Fill your pre-qualification form today.