A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchness of the vaginal and the vulva- the tissues at the vaginal opening. A vaginal yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis) is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus that naturally lives in your vagina.
Vaginal yeast infection also called vaginal candidiasis affects up to 3 out 4 women at some point in their life times.
Female yeast infection or Vaginal Yeast Infection is caused by yeast called Candida albicans and this incidentally is the most common vaginal problem in women. Although, the vagina of a woman contains number of good bacteria and yeast cells. When the number of bad bacteria exceeds the number of good ones, it may result in yeast infection. The yeast will dwell on these bacteria destroying the balance and causing infection.
Causes Of Vaginal Yeast Infection :
The fungus Candida albicans is responsible for female yeast infection. Vagina contains both good and bad bacteria in varying proportions. Lactobacillus is a kind of good bacteria that checks on the overgrowth of yeast cells. However due to some reason, number of good bacteria may reduce in number leading to multiplication of bad bacteria. This condition can cause yeast infection. Intake of antibiotics (for some other problem) can lower the number of lactobacillus leading to overgrowth of yeast. Some other causes can disturb the pH balance of vagina include uncontrolled diabetes, weakened immunity, being pregnant and using oral contraceptives suddenly. Sudden increase of estrogen hormone and undergoing hormone therapy can also cause yeast infection.
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infection
Yeast infection can range from mild to moderate. The symptoms generally can include
- Itching and irritation in the vaginal opening (Vulva)
- Burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- Swelling of the vaginal lips
Pregnant women, diabetic patients and those undergoing hormonal therapy are highly sucestiple to yeast infection. Lack of sleep, stress, those on prolonged antibiotics, STDs, especially HIV, oral contraceptives can increase the risk too..
Can a yeast infection be transmitted through sex?
Yes, although this is not always the case. The possibility of transmission through sex exists but not too common. A vaginal yeast infection can’t be classified as a sexually transmitted disease. Because even a person who is sexually inactive can become infected. If you or or your partner have a yeast infection, it is advisable to avoid all sexual contact until completely cured. Otherwise, you will simply keep passing the infection to each other. Men too can get yeast infection but very rare.
Treatment for vaginal yeast infection
Understand that yeast infections symptoms in women are dangerously similar to bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infection.
The treatment can include the following:
- Yeast can be treated with antifungal medications, ointments etc… Short term therapy for 3 days or 7 days is enough for clearing mild to moderate infection.
- The use of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a fatty oil derived from the flesh of the coconut. The oil has many health benefits, including antifungal properties. Studies have shown that coconut oil is effective against C. albicans, making this home remedy one of the few with strong evidence that it actually works. To treat a vaginal yeast infection using coconut oil, be sure to buy pure, organic coconut oil. You can apply the oil directly to the affected area.
- Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has many medicinal uses, some more proven by research than others. When you add a half cup of apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bathtub and soak for 20 minutes, the acidic component of the vinegar is supposed to eliminate any harmful microorganisms.
How to prevent vaginal yeast infection from occuring!
Vaginal yeast infection can be prevented if you keep good genital hygiene.
- Always ensure you keep the vagina clean. Frequently change pads during your menstrual cycle.
- Do not wear tight fitting panties which prevent letting out of moisture and sweat.
- Avoid using soap to wash the vaginal.
- Avoid vaginal douching. By over-cleaning the vagina you are destroying good bacteria in large quantities thereby giving room for the growth of yeast.
- Take antibiotics only if prescribed.