While the fungus Candida albicans is a natural vaginal resident, certain factors can lead to their overpopulation, resulting in vaginal inflammation that causes a yeast infection, or Vulvovaginitis. It is very common yet uncomfortable condition that plagues most of the women.
The duration of the infection can vary from person to person, but generally it tends to get better in a few days. However, in many cases, it can aggravate and stretch to at least a couple of weeks as well. An important point to note is that they are not sexually transmitted. They can get worse due to sexual intercourse and contact, however, the infection is not caused exclusively by it.
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Symptoms of Yeast Infections
The yeast infection is characterized by a watery or thick, white, odorless and cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge. This is accompanied with persistent itching, irritation, pain, soreness, swelling and a burning sensation in the vagina and vulva (vaginal opening). It also leads to pain during sex as well.
Moreover, yeast infections also tend to cause burning sensation during urination as well. Sometimes redness in the area is reported as well.
Causes of yeast infections
The discomfort and pain are not the worst part of yeast infection. The fact that once the infection occurs, it is bound to cause more episodes in the future is perhaps the ultimate bad news regarding the disease.
Hence, all the people who haven’t gotten them should try to avoid the following causes of yeast infections to save themselves a lot of pain and trouble. All those who have, should take up the practices to avoid following causes to decrease the frequency of issues.
1- Excess Antibiotics
Antibiotics work by killing off harmful bacteria. However, many good bacteria are caught in the crossfire, and the consequent bacterial imbalance. This gives fungus a free pass and leads to its excessive growth. This abundance of fungus is one of the causes of yeast infections.
While avoiding antibiotics for coughs and colds is a first-line strategy, taking probiotic supplements or adequate amounts of ‘live active culture’ yogurt, i.e. containing ‘lactobacillus’ or ‘acidophilus’ bacteria alongside antibiotic treatments can help maintain the fungal balance.
2- Infrequent Pad Changes
Sanitary pads have a recommended time limit (usually 8 hours) for a reason: not only does wearing one for prolonged time periods increase the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, but less frequent pad changes can also promote yeast growth by providing a high-moisture environment, particularly in the summer.
3- Tight Underwear
Just like forgotten pads, tight underwear made from synthetic materials reduces vaginal breath-ability and creates a moist yeast-thriving environment. So, opt for loose-fitting cotton or linen underwear that absorbs moisture instead of holding it, change out of wet clothes immediately, and wash your underwear in hot water.
4- High Blood Sugar
Not only are diabetic and prediabetic women with unchecked or poorly managed glucose levels more prone to yeast infections, but non-diabetics following a high-glycemic load and trans-fat diet often experience frequent yeast infections, as these fungi thrive on sugars and fats.
It is therefore important to consume a balanced diet. For the diabetics, they should make active effort to control their blood sugar levels. Alongside working out, they should take foods like cinnamon that help with diabetes management.
5- Infected Partners
Vulvovaginitis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, it can be passed through sexual contact with infected individuals, with uncircumcised men (not having the foreskin of their penis cut off) being particularly susceptible to yeast infections. Moreover, excess sex, even with uninfected partners, can upset the vaginal pH and fungal balance.
Still getting four or more episodes in a year? Your sexual activity and the diseases that it might cause can be the reason for it. Sexually active women who suspect a yeast infection should consult with their doctors immediately, as vulvovaginitis shares symptoms with ‘Trichomoniasis’, an easily curable STD which, if left untreated, can lead to pregnancy issues, HIV and other STDs.
A compromised immune system can also lead to persistent yeast infections. Moreover, stress and lack of sleep are also some of the causes of yeast infections. Many pregnant women are also susceptible to them.
It is very important to consult a doctor if the problem is persisting. If the causes of the yeast infections are left unaddressed, the symptoms can aggravate and become much more severe. Also, it might just be that some other strain of the bacteria is the culprit behind the yeast infection, therefore a test might be due.
If you suspect a yeast infection, regardless of age or sexual activity, It is important to visit a medical practitioner as soon as possible. You can consult with your doctor, or book an appointment with a top Gynecologist in Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.