A vaginal yeast infection is caused by yeast, which is a type of fungus. Sometimes it is referred to as Candidal vaginitis, Candidal vulvovagnitis, or yeast vaginitis. Candida is the scientific name for the yeast that causes vaginitis. About 90% of all vaginal yeast infections are caused by the candida albicans species.
Candida species can be found in healthy women in vagina without showing any symptoms. It is estimated that from 20% to 40% of women already have Candida in the vagina. In order to get an infection, the normal balance of bacteria and yeast is disturbed, which allows overgrowth of the yeast.
Vaginal yeast infection isn’t considered to be a disease which is sexually transmitted, even though yeast can be spread by sexual contact, because it can also occur in women who are not sexually active, due to the fact that it can be present in healthy women vaginas.
At some point, most women have a vaginal yeast infection and a common type of fungus is Candida albicans. Usually, it is found in small quantities in the vagina, digestive tract, on skin, and mouth. However, it doesn’t often cause infection or symptoms. Normally, Candida and other germs live in the vagina and they keep each other in balance.
But sometimes the number of Candida increases which leads to a yeast infection. This may happen if you are using antibiotics used to treat different infection. A yeast infection cannot usually spread through sexual contact, but after having sexual contact with an infected woman, some men will develop symptoms such as a rash and itches on the penis.
If you have a lot of vaginal yeast infections this may be a sign of several other health problems. Also, other vaginal discharges and infections can be mistaken for a vaginal yeast infection.
Symptoms may include a vaginal discharge which is usually whitish-gray in color and thick. The discharge is described as having consistency which is a cottage-cheese-like. There are other vaginal yeast infection symptoms, such as: burning and irritation, burning or pain during urination, pain during sexual intercourse, soreness of the vagina or vulva in women, and an intense itching of the genital or vaginal area.
It is easy to diagnose a yeast infection. Normally, doctors will start by getting information of your medical history. This will include a questions about prior yeast infections. Also, they will ask you if you ever had an infection which is sexually-transmitted. The next step is the exam of pelvic.
The doctor will examine you vagina and its surrounding area in order to see if there are some sign of infection. Also, the doctor will examine your cervix and vaginal walls. If doctor discovers something, he or she will take vaginal culture and send it to the laboratory for confirmation.
These tests are normally ordered only for women who have regular infections which won’t go away. After this initial diagnosis, you will be able to determine a future presence of yeast infection on your own.
Your doctor will treat the yeast infection according to its complications and severity.
If you have a simple yeast infection, your doctor will normally prescribe one of the following treatments: a single dose of oral medication such as Diflucan, or a one to three day regimen of an antifungal cream, tablet, ointment, or suppository. Gynzle, Monistat, Terazol and Lotrimin are common antifungal medications.
Women who suffer from simple yeast infections should follow up with their doctor in order to make sure that the prescribed medicine worked. If your symptoms return within two months, it will be necessary to follow-up with your doctor.
Some types of Candida won’t respond to typical treatment and will require an aggressive treatment. If you feel some of the following criteria than your doctor will treat your yeast infection as if it were a complicated or severe case: you are pregnant, you have had more than 4 yeast infections during a year, you have a weak immune system from medication, HIV, or uncontrolled diabetes, you have severe redness, itching, and swelling that leads to tears or sores in you vaginal tissue, or Candida other than albicans is the cause of the infection.
Treatments for complicated or severe yeast infections include: two or three doses of Diflucan (not for pregnant women), use of condoms when having sex or treatment of your sexual partner, long-term use of a topical antifungal medication or long-term prescription of Diflucan which you take one a week for six weeks, 14- day cream, tablet, ointment, or suppository vagina treatment.
In some cases, the cause of yeast infection is known. Example: some women feel the infections when they take antibiotics. You can prevent future infections by recognizing your own risk factors.
Here are several common prevention methods, which will target to avoid growth of bacteria near the vagina: avoid using feminine deodorant, eat a well-balanced diet, wear natural fibers such as silk, linen, or cotton, wash you underwear in hot water, change feminine products frequently, avoid wearing tight pantyhose, pants, leggings, or tights, don’t sit around in wet clothing, take supplements with lactobacillus or eat yogurt, avoid taking frequent hot-tub baths or sitting in hot tubs, and avoid douching.