Yeast Infection (Vaginal): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment You Must Know

They are uncomfortable, itchy and sometimes painful as well. No one likes to discuss them. But, vaginal yeast infection is pretty common among women. It is found that 75% of women will have at least one yeast infection in her lifetime.

What is responsible for yeast infection? It is a Candida organism. However, it usually lives in the vagina in balance with bacteria without posing any risks.

Changes to vaginal acidity and the balance of organisms can happen because of pregnancy, diabetes, hormonal therapy, contraceptives, birth control implants antibiotics, and impaired immune system.

When it happens, candida cells get multiplied and that leads to yeast infection.

Common Causes

Yeast infection has several causes. And, when an infection strikes individuals may have more than one factor responsible, at a time. Let’s discuss them.

1 – Antibiotic Treatment

It is one of the most popular reasons for yeast infection. The lactobacilli usually found in the vagina produce substances and acidity levels that restrict yeast. Antibiotics help in killing bacteria which allow the yeast to grow rapidly.

2 – Immunodeficiency

If your immune system is weakened due to the intake of corticosteroid medicine, HIV infection, cancer or other causes, you will be at a higher risk of suffering from yeast infection.

3 – Cancer Treatment

Often, vaginal yeast infection is seen as a side effect of cancer treatment. White blood cells found in your vagina can be reduced by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Besides, steroid drugs also limit your immune system’s ability to maintain the balance. At times, high-dose antibiotics used in cancer treatment may also let yeast infection overgrow.

4 – Diabetes

In girls and women with diabetes, vaginal secretions contain more glucose because of the higher amount of glucose in the blood. Yeast cells are cultivated by the abundance of glucose, causing them to increase and become a yeast infection.

If you experience four or more yeast infections every year, it’s good to talk to a female gynecologist in Phoenix AZ to ensure that your diabetes is being managed in the right way. 

5 – Sexual Activity

Yeast infections occur when there is no sexual activity happening. Thus, they are not considered sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But, yeast can be transferred between sexual partners through vaginal, oral or anal sex. You can use a condom to protect against this.

If your sexual activity irritates the vagina, it can disturb the normal balance and boost the yeast growth.

6 – Estrogen

Increased estrogen level increases your risk of a vaginal yeast infection. Especially pregnant women and those on hormonal replacement therapy taking high-dose estrogen birth control pills are more exposed to a higher risk of developing yeast infection than others.

Symptoms

Symptoms of yeast infection can range from minor to severe. Some women will experience one or two symptoms while others may experience multiple symptoms. Most common symptoms of yeast infection:

  • Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
  • Burning around the vaginal opening
  • Vaginal itching and discomfort
  • White and thick vaginal discharge
  • Irritation or swelling of the vulva
  • Vaginal rashes and soreness

How To Treat Yeast Infection?

You can treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter medicines that are designed to reduce its symptoms until and unless the infection fades away on its own within one-two weeks.

In addition, you can also make a few lifestyle changes to help lower your risk of getting yeast infections, consisting:

  • Wearing looser pants
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Addition of probiotic-rich foods to your healthy diet
  • Changing pads or tampons
  • Using soaps and detergents that are fragrance-free and natural
  • Removing wet clothing immediately
  • Wiping front to back during the bathing

There are a few alternative approaches to treating a yeast infection. Some of them are here as follows:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Apply it topically or use it as a vaginal suppository. It does not harm the good bacteria present in the vagina and restores a healthy balance.
  • Yogurt: Consuming yogurt can provide you with the balance you need to prevent yeast from overgrowing.
  • Boric Acid: It has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Use it once a day as a suppository to treat yeast infections.

While birth control or birth control implants can increase your risk of developing a yeast infection, it is not considered to be a direct cause. If you experience recurrent infections, you should get in touch with your healthcare provider to determine if other brands of birth control might fit your body and your needs.

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