What is a vaginal yeast infection? Why does it happen? Is it a serious situation? What are the symptoms? When should you see a doctor? How is it treated? What is the best vaginal fungicide? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is vaginal fungus?
Vaginal yeast infections , also called “ Candida vaginal infections ,” are typically infections caused by the fungus Candida albicans . The estimated probability of 75% of women to have at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime is around 45%. So this means that one out of every two women will definitely get vaginal yeast infections once in their life.
Women are more likely to get a vaginal yeast infection if their body is stressed by malnutrition, lack of sleep , illness, or when pregnant or taking antibiotics. Women with diseases that suppress the immune system, such as diabetes and HIV infection, are also at increased risk.
Vaginal yeast causes and risk factors
Vaginal yeast is most commonly caused by Candida albicans , a type of yeast or fungus that is normally found in the mouth, gut, and vagina . But sometimes it can also be caused by other Candida species.
Our body is normally colonized with a variety of organisms, including different bacteria and yeasts. These organisms exist in a balance, but if something that can kill a few types of bacteria, such as a broad-spectrum antibiotic, upsets that balance , overgrowth of other organisms can occur, leading to problems such as vaginal yeast. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and excessive sugar levels, as with diabetes, can contribute to this imbalance.
Generally, a vaginal yeast infection is not considered contagious; however, it is sometimes seen that it is transmitted to the sexual partner .
Who is at risk?
A number of factors increase the risk of genital yeast infections in women, but the thing to keep in mind is that not all people with risk factors get genital yeast infections. Risk factors for a vaginal yeast infection include:
- Use of broad-spectrum antibiotics
- compromised immune system due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, corticosteroids, transplant drugs, or cancer and cancer treatment
- Diabetes, also known as diabetes (chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to use sugar for energy)
- Washing the vagina or exposing the vagina to chemicals
- Oral contraceptive use
- Pregnancy-related conditions
How to reduce risk?
You can reduce your risk of vaginal yeast by:
- avoiding washing the vagina
- Avoiding products that can irritate vaginal tissues, such as feminine hygiene sprays, perfumes, powders, and soaps
- Choosing the right antibiotics
- Keeping your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes
Vaginal yeast symptoms
Women with vaginal yeast may experience itching and a thick, white discharge. They may notice redness and swelling around the vagina and may feel pain during urination or sexual intercourse . The intensity of symptoms can vary from person to person.
Common causes of vaginal fungus include:
- Itching sensation in the vagina and surrounding tissue
- Pain felt during sexual intercourse
- pain or burning when urinating
- Redness and swelling of the genital area
- Thick, white vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese-like texture
Vaginal yeast is very rarely a stand-alone medical emergency . In people with compromised immune systems, it is possible for the infection to spread into the bloodstream and cause invasive candidiasis, a potentially life-threatening condition . Also, other types of vaginal or pelvic infections can be confused with vaginal fungi.
If you or someone you are with has any of these life-threatening symptoms, you should seek emergency treatment:
- having vaginal bleeding while pregnant
- Chest pain , chest tightness, chest pressure, feeling palpitations
- have a high fever
- Breathing or breathing problems such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing , shortness of breath, choking
- Severe abdominal or genital pain
- Uncontrolled nausea and vomiting
Which doctor should I go to for vaginal fungus?
The doctor you should go to for vaginal yeast infection is an obstetrician and gynecologist , also known as a gynecologist .
Vaginal yeast diagnosis
For a vaginal yeast infection , the doctor will start by asking about details about sexual practices and any history of sexually transmitted infections or previous yeast infections. They may also do a pelvic exam to examine the vulva, vagina, and cervix for signs of infection . A sample of vaginal discharge may be sent to a laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.
Laboratory tests are usually ordered if an infection does not go away or continues to recur. Examining a sample of vaginal discharge under the microscope can reveal whether levels of infectious fungi are present, and the right treatment can be found when it turns out what type of infection it is.
Vaginal fungus treatment
The best medicine for vaginal yeast infection is single dose oral fluconazole, but this medicine should not be used in pregnant women. Female genital yeast infections can also be treated with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medications that are inserted directly into the vagina as tablets, creams, ointments, or suppositories. These drugs include butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, tioconazole, and terconazole.
Since most vaginal yeast infections are not sexually transmitted, treatment of sexual partners is not usually necessary. However, if a male partner is showing symptoms of Candida balanitis ( redness, irritation, or itching at the tip of the penis ), he may need to be treated with an anti-fungal cream or ointment.
Any woman experiencing symptoms of a genital yeast infection for the first time should see a doctor. This is important to make sure the vaginal discharge and discomfort are caused by fungus and not by sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea , chlamydia or trichomoniasis.
About 5% of women with vaginal yeast infections may experience 4 or more of the same problems in a 1-year period. Although the condition is more common in women with diabetes or weakened immune systems, most women affected by vaginal yeast do not have an underlying medical condition that would predispose them to recurrent Candida infections.
Medical professionals continue to discover the most effective way to treat vaginal yeast . A recommended treatment is 10 days of oral fluconazole or daily application of a topical agent, followed by a weekly dose of oral fluconazole for six months. An alternative is to use clotrimazole cream twice a week for six months after the initial 10-day period.
What is good for vaginal fungus?
Here are the things that are good for a vaginal yeast infection:
Probiotics may be effective against C. albicans . Yogurt is considered a probiotic as it contains beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus . These bacteria are essential for creating a healthy environment in your vagina. Eating yogurt helps boost gut health and may reduce the amount of fungus in the body, as confirmed in a 2017 study . If you don’t like yogurt, you can also take a probiotic supplement by consulting your doctor.
2- Probiotic suppositories and supplements
Probiotics help restore the bacteria-yeast balance in your body. Especially the correct use of oral probiotics will help make your vagina healthier. As we mentioned above, eating natural yogurt is another great way to get probiotics. Oral supplements take about 10 days to take full effect, so some women use probiotic suppositories to see results faster. Before taking medical probiotics for vaginal yeast infection, it is recommended to consult your doctor.
3- Boric asit
Boric acid is a powerful antiseptic that some women claim is helpful in treating fungal infections that are resistant to other drugs. Topically applied boric acid can be used as a treatment for female genital yeast infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, boric acid vaginal suppositories can also be used with medications to treat vaginal yeast infections.
You should remember that too much boric acid can be harmful. If your body absorbs too much boric acid, it can lead to kidney damage, acute circulatory failure, or death. Therefore, it is useful to consult a doctor before using boric acid.
If you are pregnant, you should not use boric acid under any circumstances. For those with sensitive skin, this may not be a good choice. If any discomfort starts, you should stop using it.
4- Coconut oil
Coconut oil is an oil obtained from the flesh of the coconut. Coconut oil has many health benefits, including antifungal properties. Studies have shown that coconut oil is effective against vaginal yeast infection . To treat genital fungus using coconut oil, you should use pure, organic coconut oil. You can apply the oil directly to the affected area.
Do you know the benefits of coconut oil for the skin?
5- Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an effective essential oil used to kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Research shows that a vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil can help treat vaginal yeast infections . Also, tea tree oil has been shown to have antifungal properties.
Tea tree oil is incredibly powerful. Therefore , if it comes into contact with your skin, you should dilute it with a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. You can also try vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil.
You should use tea tree oil occasionally and never ingest it. If your skin is sensitive , it would be in your best interest not to use it. If you experience any side effects after using it, you should stop using it.
Do you know the benefits of tea tree oil?
Garlic is thought to be an effective fungicide. But there is controversy over whether it can help cure fungal infections outside of the laboratory setting. If you want to try garlic to treat vaginal yeast infection , you can add more garlic to your meals. It is not recommended to apply garlic directly to your skin.
7- Hydrogen peroxide (oxygenated water)
Hydrogen peroxide is a bactericidal and fungicidal antiseptic. While it won’t work for all types of yeast, some women claim it’s effective for vaginal yeast infections. However, there is no strong research to support the use of hydrogen peroxide to treat vaginal infections, and you should not shower with hydrogen peroxide. Adding it to bath water or diluting it with water can help inhibit the growth of fungus on the genitals. You should not use hydrogen peroxide without diluting it and for a long time.
8- C vitamins
Vitamin C strengthens the immune system. A strong immune system allows your body to rebalance itself. Vitamin C ( also called ascorbic acid ) has antimicrobial components, so some women add it to their diet to treat vaginal yeast infections. You can take vitamin C to help your body prevent fungal infections, but you must apply vitamin C directly to your skin.
Do you know enough about vitamin C?
Preventing vaginal fungus
To help prevent vaginal yeast infections, you can try the following suggestions:
- Keep the external genitalia clean and dry.
- Avoid irritating soaps (including bubble bath), vaginal sprays, and vaginal douches.
- Change tampons and sanitary pads frequently.
- Wear loose cotton (rather than nylon) underwear that does not retain moisture.
- After swimming, quickly put on dry clothes instead of sitting for long periods in your wet swimsuit.
- Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your doctor and never take them for longer than your doctor recommends.
- If you have diabetes, try to strictly control and stabilize your blood sugar levels.