What is Yeast Infection – An Overview
Even though most women are not aware of what yeast infection is, they have experience the infection at least once in their lifetime. The infection also referred to as genital or vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), ranks as the second highest cause of vaginal irritation and discharge in women. It is estimated that at least 75 percent of women develop a yeast infection in their lifetime. However, many are not informed about the causes, symptoms and treatment of the yeast infection despite its prevalence.
What is Yeast infection?
Yeast infection occurs as a result of an overgrowth of the fungus candida albican present in the affected area. Found in small numbers in the intestinal tract, the fungus rarely causes symptoms. The healthy individual's body consists of both good and bad organisms. However, when there is an interruption with the normal flow of the body that allows the fungus to multiply rapidly and outnumber the good bacteria in the lower intestinal tract, Candida can become a contaminant of the vagina and the areas surrounding it. Yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted disease or STD as the fungus does not pass on through sexual intercourse.
What Causes Yeast Infection?
As previously mentioned, vaginal yeast infection is caused by Candida albicans. These health concerns are more commonly seen in individuals with risk factors. With that said, it's very important that women know the factors that disturbs the vagina's healthy balance. The following are some of the associated factors that increase a woman's risk for yeast infection.
Individuals on steroid therapy and have diabetes stands a high chance of being infected. This is primarily because Candida survives very well in carbohydrate-rich environment. The blood sugar levels of persons taking steroids and diabetics are usually high, so it is very likely that they can suffer from yeast infection.
Hormones are factors that are associated with the development of yeast infection. Pregnancy, menopause and taking contraceptive pills are conditions that cause a fluctuation in hormones. This may result in hormonal imbalance that disturbs the normal flora of the vagina and may also cause Candida to grow in number.
People who have been on antibiotic therapy for a while are also at risk of being affected with vaginal yeast infection. Prolonged antibiotic use tends to kill the good bacteria that protect the vagina and help to keep yeast levels down.
What are the Symptoms of Yeast Infection?
One of the most common symptoms of yeast infection in women is severe itching in their genital area, that sometimes go along with a thick, white or yellow patchy cheese-like discharge. It is also usual for women to complain about burning, redness, and swelling along the vagina. Quite a number of sufferers also experience pain when urinating (dysuria) and pain when having sex (dyspareunia).
How is Yeast Infection Treated?
Ointments, tablets, cream or suppositories are the forms of anti-fungal medications that are used for the treatment of Candida infection. Medications such as butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and nystatin are often prescribed. If needed, your doctor may also prescribe a single dose of oral fluconazole or a more broad-spectrum anti-fungal terconazole.
Most treatment for yeast infection can be purchased without a prescription, with this we find that yeast infections that do not respond to these drugs are becoming more common. The use of an anti-fungal medication incorrectly can increase the risk of getting a resistant infection in the future. This basically explains the importance of consulting your doctor before taking any medication.
It is absolutely imperative for women who have repeated yeast infections within a 2-month period or a yeast infection that persists despite treatment, to see the doctor immediately. It's very crucial for the doctor to ascertain that yeast infection is the problem and, if so, to figure out why it's not responding to treatment.
Knowing the answer to the question, “What is yeast infection?” is as important as knowing the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of the disease. If you have more questions about yeast infections, it is best to contact your health care provider.