Vaginal yeast infection is one of the most common types of vaginal infection that approx. 75% of women around the world are expected to face it at some point in their life. It generally goes off with anti-fungal medications but if it is severe then it requires long-term treatment. However by understanding the causes of vaginal yeast infection you can prevent its recurrence.
Though vaginal yeast infection is not a chronic health condition and can be rid of by using certain medications but its ignorance for a long time can make it severe. So it is necessary for every woman not to ignore its symptoms and starts its medication at the very early stage.
Your vagina has a well-maintained balance of yeast and bacteria which is necessary to prevent harmful organism that can affect vagina badly. However, when this balance is disturbed due to some reason it can lead to the growth of fungus naming candida which starts growing abnormally causing the yeast infection.
VYI is not a Sexually Transmitted Infection or STI as because it can even develop in healthy women or in women who are not sexually active. Still, it can transmit its effect to male through intercourse even though it is not an STI.
Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infections
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Vaginal yeast infection is not as critical as other vaginal infections but its most of the symptoms match with the chronic infections of the vagina that can misguide the affected women. So it’s very essential to contact with a doctor when you notice any of the symptoms or mix up of all the vaginal yeast infections symptoms. Find out the signs of VYI under below points.
- Mild to intense itching in vagina or genitals depending upon the longevity of this infection.
- Irritation or consistent feeling of discomfort in the vagina.
- Gray and whitish color discharge from the vagina.
- Burning sensation in genitals or vagina walls.
- Sores and redness around the vagina or vulva i.e. the outer portion of women’s genitals.
- Swelling occurs in the vagina.
- Odorless discharge.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Burns and pain during urination.
- Thick, cottage shaped discharge like cottage cheese which remains consistent.
- Watery discharge.
- In men, the upper side of pennies gets swollen and burns.
- Rashes appear on the vagina and genitals area. It happens due to itching and persistent irritation.
A vaginal yeast infection affected person may have to suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms either few of them or all of them together. In some critical cases yeast infection discharge contains odors and severe swelling, itching, burning and soreness then it’s really very tough to live a healthy and peaceful life when you are attacked by such infections.
So for ensuring healthy living and preventing the recurrence of this vaginal infection as the chances exist to a great extent that it will repeat again, even in some cases it happens four times in a year which requires medication without further delay.
Causes of Vaginal Yeast Infections
It is the fungus naming Candida albicans which are the primary reason of causing vaginal yeast infection which grows and develops in the vagina or genitals area. Approx. 90% of cases of this vaginal infection is caused by this particular yeast and the remaining cases are caused by another fungus which occurs in rare cases.
Your vagina works on a good and healthy maintained balance of yeast and bacteria but the problem arises when some of the yeast starts growing in abnormal numbers which causes VYI.
The Lactobacillus bacteria produces acid which controls the growth of yeast but because of some reason when the acid production get lesser then it becomes unable to prevent the overgrowth of yeast resulting in yeast infection. As a result of that, you experience itching, burning, swelling and soreness in the vagina that can be temporary or up to the long duration.
Vaginal yeast infection which results in due to the growth of fungus other than Candida albicans is much more critical to treat with a comparison to this common form of yeast infection. It may require even the intense form of therapies to treat it completely. Basically, the following reasons are considered as one of the primary cause of developing a vaginal yeast infection.
High Level of Diabetes
An unbalanced and increased level of diabetes affects a lot to your overall health and vaginal yeast infection disease is one of them. When the level of sugar gets increases it can affect to the mucous membrane a moist lining of the vagina which leads to an increase in the yeast quantity resulting in infection.
The level of hormone gets increases and misbalances on the different phases of a woman’s life and this affects to their vaginal health too. An increased hormone level during pregnancy, menopause, breastfeeding and even due to the use of contraceptive pills can affect the yeast balance in the vagina resulting in vaginal yeast infection health issue develops.
Usage of Douches and Vaginal Sprays
Women who use vaginal products like douches and vaginal sprays are mostly the victim of vagina-related infections like VYI. The chemicals and ingredients used in the preparation of these products can change the vaginal balance causing infection.
Antibiotic drugs often kill the bacteria existing in the vagina even to good bacteria which affects to the yeast balance resulting in vaginal yeast infection health problem appears. Women who consume these antibiotics remain at risk of developing this health condition.
Even though vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease but chances exist to a great extent that it can be transferred or passed through sexual contact from one partner to another partner.
Due to Weak Immunity System
Under the cases of weaker immunity system of a woman due to any health condition such as HIV-positive etc. the growth of yeast becomes beyond control which can lead to vaginal yeast infection.
Vaginal Yeast Infections Medications and Treatment
Though vaginal yeast infection is not a severe health concern still as soon as its symptoms are noticed its treatment should be started without delay otherwise it can make the affected person restless and discomfort all the time.
There are many ointments or cream and oral medications also that you can purchase on own without a doctor’s prescription very easily from any medical stores. These creams as well as medicines are very effective and provide quick relief from the itching, irritation, and burning due to this infection.
You can apply the creams basically the anti-fungus creams directly on the affected area and reapply it again and again until you get complete relief out of it. These creams basically prohibit the growth and production of unusual yeast which causes vaginal yeast infection health condition.
Regarding buying of antifungal creams and medicines, it is always advised to consult with a doctor if you are affected by this health concern very first time in your life as only the doctor will make it confirm whether it is just a yeast infection or is there any other underlying health condition.
Only at the recurrence of your vaginal yeast infection symptoms, you can purchase your first time prescribed medications at this time you can better judge your condition as well as symptoms.
The antifungal vaginal creams carry a manual instruction which you must read properly before applying it to understand its way of application. Some of the creams are used inside the vaginal area where as some vaginal tablets are inserted inside the vagina which automatically dissolves and starts its work instantly.
Some popular antifungal creams that are often prescribed by the doctors include Tioconazole (Vagistat-1), Miconazole (Monistat and Micatin), Clotrimazole (Lotrimin and Mycelex) etc.
For covering the strains of yeast too you can use some medicated creams but that necessarily needs a doctor’s prescription otherwise you cannot purchase it directly from the medical store. Such creams include Butoconazole (Gynazole-1), Terconazole (Terazol) etc.
Regarding these medications, one common aspect is that its level of concentration depicts its usability. Like if the drug that you have taken, carry value 7 on its packaging that means you need to apply it for 7 days. Just like that the same drug with value 3 or 4 needs to be taken for 3 or 4 days as per the number mentioned after its name. This number shows its concentrated version.
If the inflammation is severe means symptoms of vaginal yeast infection are noticed on the tenderest areas of the vagina like vulva or opening of the vagina and its nearby tissues, the doctor may prescribe steroid creams in the initial days.
Likewise antifungal creams oral antifungal medications are also prescribed by the doctors to relieve such health conditions completely. These oral drugs or medications kill the yeast and fungus from all over your body to relives this infection. This is the reason it carries the risk of some minor side effects such as a headache, stomach upset etc. which exists for some time.
One of the most common forms of oral antifungal medication which often prescribed by the doctors includes Itraconazole(Sporanox), Ketoconazole (Nizoral), Fluconazole (Diflucan) etc.
These oral medications are applied to severe cases of inflammation where an only one-time dose is prescribed to reduce the infection. In the cases of mild infections such medications are directed to be taken as a single dose or daily doses but not for a very long duration or period. These medications come in both tablet and capsules form.
Whether you are using a vaginal agent like creams and vaginal tablets or any oral medication for relieving your symptoms and concern of vaginal yeast infection it is always necessary to stay aware of its most commonly associated side effects.
Out of the side effects due to the medication of this vaginal infection, the most common one is vaginal itching and burning which goes off with time. Some other side effects which are less common include pain during intercourse and urination, inflammation, contact dermatitis, and irritation.
Also, another most vital side effect of the usage of vaginal creams, as well as suppositories, is its impact on the functionality of condoms. This happens because these medications contain oil which weakens the latex.
If you are pregnant or have a very weak immune system then these antifungal medications are not good for your health and you should not use or apply them by taking risk of your health. Also if you have an allergy with the ingredients of these medications then also you should not think to use them otherwise it will elevate your allergy.
This vaginal health infection is associated with severe or mild itching and irritation but it doesn’t cause pain. So if you are noticing pain in your affected area then you must consult with the doctor and inform about your symptoms as it can be a sign of some other severe health condition.
In the cases of recurrence of this health condition, you should not opt for self-treatment by using a very old prescribed medication by the doctor as because the recurrence of vaginal yeast infection may develop into some severe condition if its proper treatment is not provided.
The doctor will suggest for professional diagnosis to understand the real cause of your recurrent vaginal yeast infection. In certain cases, some women experience four times attack of this vaginal infection which cannot be relieved completely by the counter medications and need special treatment to get rid of it completely.
Home Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
If you are sick and tired of prescribed medications by the doctors and still not getting any effective result then you must try some home remedies to relieve your vaginal yeast infection naturally and with very less effort. Below are some best and effective home treatment methods for relieving the recurrent yeast infection health concern.
Coconut oil is one of the most effective homes prepared natural remedies to treat vaginal yeast infection. This oil is prepared from the coconut flesh which is a fatty oil. This natural derivative is used for multiple health benefits, an antifungal property is one of them.
Apply this oil directly on your infected area to prevent the growth of harmful fungus like candida. However, you have to make sure that the coconut oil you are using is pure and organic for the safer side.
Boric acid is a natural antiseptic product that works amazingly in relieving recurrent yeast infection. Just like tropical boric acid, vaginal suppositories made up of boric acid are equally effective in preventing this inflammation or infection.
As boric acid is toxic in nature so it should be used very carefully otherwise an unsafe amount or a large amount of boric acid may cause severe health traumas like the failure of the circulatory system, kidney damage and even death if it is absorbed in enough quantity.
Always boric acid should be used by mixing with water before applying on the vagina or the vulva area. Also, it should not be applied to the cut or broken area. For pregnant women, boric acid is harmful in any form so they should always avoid it.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is a probiotic that is beneficial for our overall health and for treating vaginal yeast infection it works as a natural medication. Yogurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria which fight against the unusual growth of fungus like candida which elevates this health condition.
It helps to maintain the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina and reduce the inflammation in a natural way. You must choose plain Greek yogurt as it is best for the vaginal health. Also, make sure that sugar is not mixed in it otherwise it can promote the growth of harmful fungus which again not good for your health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is now medically proven healthy ingredient that is good for health in numerous ways. A regular bath from this vinegar by mixing with lukewarm water can prevent the recurrent vaginal yeast infection.
Use a half cup of ACV into the bucket of lukewarm water and leave it for 20 minutes and then bath with this water. The acidic content of the ACV will kill the harmful organisms from your body and relieves from such infections or inflammations.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one another most effective natural remedy that helps to prevent the vaginal yeast infection health problem. This essential oil is rich with numerous health and skin related benefits.
Don’t use tea tree oil directly or don’t swallow it. It needs to be diluted with other oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil etc. before applying on the vagina. Medications that contain tea tree oil are also very effective in preventing the recurrent inflammation. It should be used occasionally not on daily basis.
Apart from the above mentioned natural remedies, there are other natural ingredients too that works very effectively in relieving the recurrent yeast infection. For the safety of your health, it is advised not to make any experiment or self-medication for the first time occurrence of vaginal yeast infection and stay aware of the causes of vaginal yeast infection to prevent this health condition.
[expand title=”View Article Sources“]
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Yeast infection (vaginal).
- Vaginal yeast infections [Fact sheet]. (2017).