Yeast Infection Symptoms in Women
Yeast infections can happen at any time, and anyone who has ever had one knows how itchy and uncomfortable they can be. In fact, yeast infections are very common among women. Approximately 75% of women have had one or more yeast infections during their life and about 45% may have multiple cases of yeast infections.
What is a Yeast Infection?
Vaginal yeast infections in women are a condition also known as candidiasis. Normally, your body creates enough estrogen hormones that help your vagina maintain a healthy balance of bacteria called lactobacilli and yeast cells. Lactobacilli helps kill harmful organisms in your vagina and keeps your reproductive system healthy.
But sometimes this balance is upset, and yeast cells can multiply out of control. This causes a fungus called candida to grow and starts a yeast infection. Most yeast infections can be cleared up within a few days.
Yeast Infection Symptoms
Yeast infections can present with a number of different symptoms that may be mild to moderate. They may include:
- Itching around the vagina and vulva
- Redness and swelling on your vagina
- Vaginal discharge that is watery
- Vaginal discharge that is thick, white, and resembles cottage cheese
- A burning feeling while peeing or during intercourse
- Pain or soreness in your vagina
- Rash on your vagina
How Do You Prevent a Yeast Infection?
- Wash your underwear in hot water
- Eat yogurt or take a probiotic supplement
- Eat a well-balanced diet that avoids processed foods and foods high in sugar
- Choose clothes that have natural fibers such as cotton or silk
- Regularly replace your feminine products
- Don’t douche
- Avoid tight pants, leggings, or pantyhose
- Avoid using tampons or pads that are scented or contain perfumes
- Don’t sit in the hot tub too long or take frequent hot baths
- Don’t keep your wet bathing suit on. Change to dry clothes when you are done swimming.
Chronic Yeast Infection Causes
Although there is no definitive cause as to why women get chronic yeast infections, there are certain risk factors that may increase your chances of developing a yeast infection. Some risk factors include:
- Compromised auto-immune system such as HIV, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Obesity, which allows areas of moisture and warmth to grow Candida in folds of your skin
- Hormonal imbalances, such as pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills, or estrogen therapy
- Frequent use of antibiotics. This kills the good bacteria that helps keep Candida from growing out of control
- Diabetes mellitus. If your diabetes is not well controlled, sugar levels can rise in the membrane of your vagina and allow the overgrowth of yeast.
- An allergic reaction to Candida after an initial infection can cause chronic yeast infections.
Having sex can also be a risk factor for chronic yeast infections. Using birth control such as spermicidal condoms, glycerin-based sex lubricants, and C. albicans in the mouth that is passed on by oral sex can sometimes cause vaginal irritation that makes your vagina more prone to getting a yeast infection.
How do you treat a yeast infection?
Usually, yeast infections in women can be treated easily with an anti-fungal cream that helps your symptoms subside within a few days. You can get suppositories or medicated creams like Monistat without a prescription at a drugstore. Make sure that you use all the medicine in your regimen even if your symptoms go away before you’re done.
While you’re taking your medication, don’t participate in oral or vaginal sex and don’t put anything in your vagina until your yeast infection goes away. Some yeast infection medications have oil that causes condoms to tear and sex can be irritating. This makes it take longer to resolve your yeast infection.
You can also treat a yeast infection with medication that comes as a single pill such as Fluconazole or Diflucan. You need a prescription for this kind of medication, but you can now get a prescription online at tele-healthcare sites like Plushcare.com that makes the process discreet and convenient.
When Should You See Your Doctor?
If you’ve tried self-care or home remedies and your symptoms have not subsided, you should consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider to find out what’s going on. It’s possible that you don’t have a yeast infection and may need to be tested for other conditions such as a urinary tract infection or a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
In addition, if you’ve had four or more yeast infections in one year, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Your doctor may want to put you on a 6-month medical treatment plan to get rid of the yeast infection or give your further testing for other possible conditions. In addition, your partner may also need to be checked for yeast infections.