All About Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are common, though few people want to talk about them. However, they must be treated to keep your body healthy. If you suspect or know that you have a yeast infection, it is important to seek help from a medical professional.
The scientific name for these microscopic organisms is candida, and it lives practically everywhere. This little fungus is naturally present in and on your body, though in minute amounts. However, painful infections can occur when the balance has been disrupted in some way.
While vaginal yeast infections are the most common, candida is also responsible for thrush, which presents as white patches in the oral cavity. Once it spreads to the esophagus, the condition become candida esophagitis.
If you have a yeast infection on your skin, it can create itchy rashes. The most dangerous form of yeast infections are in the bloodstream, where the results can be life-threatening if left untreated.
However, vaginitis is the reason that most clinics see patients with yeast infections. It is important that women understand the delicate balance of organisms that naturally live in their vagina in order to treat current yeast infections and prevent future ones.
Inside of a healthy vagina are special bacteria that regulate other organisms within the system. If you take antibiotics for an infection, they will indiscriminately kill these healthy bacteria as well. This allows the candida to flourish.
Certain hormonal factors are also indicated in vaginal yeast infections. Women who are pregnant or taking hormonal therapy might experience more frequent infections than they would otherwise.
Some health conditions are also known to increase vaginitis risks. For instance, HIV infections compromise the immune system, including the balance of flora in your vagina. Likewise, diabetics need to monitor their potential for yeast infections closely.
While you are treating a yeast infection, it is important to address other factors that could contribute to the problem. Continue to avoid these triggering behaviors to reduce risk of future outbreaks.
* Avoid using douche and scented products for your genital area. Douching can actually push yeast higher into your vagina, potentially infecting the cervix as well. The artificial scents in feminine powders and deodorant tampons can also disrupt the natural balance of your vagina.
* Wear comfortable clothing that allows air and moisture to escape from your body. Cotton underwear and looser jeans can allow your genitals to breath. Otherwise, the warm moist area is an ideal growing zone for unwanted yeast.
* Clean the external areas of your genitals gently using an unscented cleanser. Rinse well and avoid allowing the cleanser to enter the vagina, where it could cause irritation.
* Wipe from front to back after peeing or changing your tampon. Otherwise, you risk spreading anal bacteria to your vagina or urinary tract.
Symptoms Of A Vaginal Yeast Infection
For many women, the first sign of a vaginal yeast infection is an itching or burning sensation in the genital region that doesn’t subside. It might be accompanied by burning and irritation that creates continual discomfort.
Quite often, a yeast infection will cause an unpleasant discharge that is sometimes compared to cottage cheese. The odorless discharge is very thick, and can create embarrassing accidents.
A visual inspection will show that the vagina and vulva are likely red and irritated, possibly with some swelling and soreness. Women also report that they have pain while urinating and during sexual intercourse.
If you have never had a yeast infection before, it is important that you have a professional diagnosis. While you might have signs that are similar to vaginitis, you could also be suffering from a different medical condition that requires an alternate course of treatment. Attempting to diagnose and treat it yourself could worsen your condition.
Although yeast infections are not considered a sexually transmitted disease, your partner might need to be treated as well. This is because the overgrowth of candida bacteria in either of you can encourage excessive growth in the other’s genitals as well. Of course, that is something that your medical provider can discuss with you on a case-by-case basis.
Your urgent care clinic has several options for treating your yeast infections. While topical treatments are usually the first course of action, if you have recurring infections or don’t respond well, there are also oral prescriptions available to help. Oral antifungals should only be taken under the guidance of a qualified medical practitioner.
Just because yeast infections are awkward to talk about doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The fact is that most women will have at least one during her lifetime. If you have any of the signs or symptoms listed above, contact your local walk-in clinic and make an appointment. You deserve to know your diagnosis and how to begin restoring your health. Continue with their aftercare instructions to cure your current outbreak and stave off future ones.