Yeast Infection Symptoms And Treatment
Yeast is a type of fungus called Candida Albicans that grows on human skin and in areas of moisture. An overgrowth of this yeast can cause vaginal yeast infection in women and yeast infections are honestly as annoying as they are common.
About seventy-five percent of women will get at least one yeast infection in their lifetime, forty-five percent will get more than one. And then some women suffer from chronic yeast infections.
A yeast infection can be one of the worst intimate problems for women today, causing irritating side effects that can be irritating and also very painful. The more women understand about yeast infections, then the better off they are equipped to deal with it should they develop one.
The female body is an incredible organic machine made up of nerve, muscle and bone. It is able to nurture babies for up to nine months. But, as all machines can, it may malfunction on occasion and be susceptible to things like candidiasis which is more commonly known simply as a yeast infection, or in this case vaginal thrush.
What Are Yeast Infections In Women?
Vaginal thrush is not brought about by yeast. The infection is actually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans which has yeast-like properties. It grows naturally in warm, moist, dark regions of the body, like the mouth and the vagina. Its growth is kept checked by a kind of beneficial bacteria which also grows in the human body. The job of Candida albicans is to search for harmful bacteria and destroy them.
The problem starts when the good bacteria that monitor the growth of Candida albicans die, either because of antibiotics or a weak immune system. Once these bacteria die, Candida albicans grow rapidly and spread aggressively.
Add to this the fact that all candida fungi can pass through muscle or organ walls in the body (it has been known to penetrate intestinal walls), and there you have it – an infection that irritates the vagina as well as the vulva.
The Symptoms Of Yeast Infection
The symptoms of a yeast infection are vaginal itching, burning, discharge that is usually thick and white, painful urination, and pain during and after intercourse.
There are many possible causes of yeast infection symptoms. Sometimes simply taking an antibiotic results in a yeast infection. In addition to destroying bacteria that cause illness, antibiotics kill off the “good” bacteria that normally live in the vagina. Without this necessary bacteria in the vagina, yeast cells can take over and grow out of control.
Other possible causes are wearing tight clothing, particularly underwear, douching, using feminine sprays which causes moisture, uncontrolled diabetes, and pregnancy. Recurrent yeast infections or yeast infections that don’t seem to go away even with the medicated treatments are usually a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition such as diabetes or a poor immune system.
Sometimes women are first diagnosed with diabetes after seeing the doctor on the first onset of yeast infection symptoms.
Pregnant women are especially prone to develop yeast infections because pregnancy changes the hormonal and chemical balance in the body. Yeast infections can be difficult to treat during pregnancy and some pregnant women will experience recurrent yeast infections.
Women who suffer from fatigue, illness, stress, and a poor diet are more likely to get yeast infections.
Other Types of Yeast Infections:
Apart from vaginal yeast infections, there are other types such as thrush which can cause can cause discoloration of the mouth. Usually white spots will appear in the mouth when you have an oral thrust infection.
Esophagitis are another type of thrush that can make swallowing extremely painful. There are even yeast infections that can cause skin irritation such as rashes and itching. The most deadly form of yeast infection is that of the blood stream, and this type of yeast infection can be life threatening.
Causes Of Yeast Infection Symptoms:
Antibiotics are the leading cause of yeast infections for American women. Since yeast is normal in a women’s vagina, it causes an infection when a change in the balance in a woman’s system occurs. For example, pregnancy, which leads to changes in hormone levels.
Antibiotics have adverse effects on the balance of good bacteria in our bodies – which are what keeps the bad bacteria in balance. Taking antibiotics allows the bad bacteria to proliferate and taking them for long periods of time is most commonly what causes the development of yeast infections.
With these symptoms in mind, the next step is to visit your obstetrician-gynecologist or ob-gyn. Your ob-gyn will begin questioning you about your symptoms, your medical history and your exposure to certain chemicals. He or she will take a swab of your vaginal discharge, and inspect the presence of candida from this sample under a microscope. The ob-gyne may also ask you to assist him or her in identifying the exact location of the itching or pain using a magnifying lens.
Keep in mind that not all doctors are able to diagnose thrush or yeast infections properly. There are times that the indicators could be signs of thrush as described here, and there are times that they may actually be symptoms of vaginitis of some type, most likely bacterial in nature. Also, when left unchecked, thrush may cause dangerous side-effects, such as endometriosis, ovarian dysfunction and the release of toxins which may further jeopardize your immune system.
Diagnosing yeast infections in women can be difficult, mostly because its symptoms are no different with those of other illnesses affecting the genital region. Therefore, it is extremely important to be pro-active in getting an accurate diagnosis as soon as you experience any of the yeast infection warning signs.
You must able to recognize and keep track of what is going on with you in your genital region. And you must be very forthcoming when asked about the medication you are taking and the products you are using, as many can be a major factor in yeast infections in women
Yeast Overgrowth Occurs Because …
- Increased warmth and moisture in the vaginal area
- Not drying the outer vaginal area thoroughly after bathing
- Poor diet
- Poorly ventilated underwear
- Poor personal hygiene
- Birth control pills
- Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle
- Certain drugs
- Use of ‘broad spectrum’ antibiotics
- Vaginal intercourse without adequate lubrication
- Diabetes – raised blood sugar levels make a conducive environment for Candida to grow
How Do You Diagnose Yeast Infections In Women?
The first step is to figure out exactly what symptoms you are having. The most telling symptom is if your body releases a white or whitish-gray discharge which comes out clumpy and has a smell that reminds you of bread or beer.
Other common warning signs include severe vaginal itching, a burning and tingling sensation, and even soreness, all of which make walking, switching positions, urinating and sexual intercourse difficult. Some of these symptoms may be heightened through exposure to chemicals, such as perfumes and household cleaning materials.
Yeast infection sufferers are also more prone to develop allergies by inhaling airborne mold. Damp, dark locations can make them feel worse. They may also display a craving for sugar, breads, carbohydrates and alcohol, though sufferers may not necessarily be tolerant to alcohol. But even then these symptoms altogether may make you a candidate for another infection called bacterial vaginosis, which merits its own article.
There are steps women can take to help prevent yeast infections including:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear
- Avoid wearing nylon underwear
- Change your clothes immediately after exercising or any physical activity
- Keep the external vaginal area clean and dry
- Avoid irritating soaps and vaginal sprays and perfumes
- Change pads and tampons frequently
- If you have diabetes, keep a stable blood sugar level
- Only take antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor and never longer
- Avoid sharing towels and washcloth’s with others
- Bathe regularly and thoroughly and dry yourself completely before getting dressed
- Do not use vaginal douches
Yeast Infection Treatment and How to Stay Healthy:
Women are more vulnerable to get vaginal yeast infections if their bodies are under stress from poor diet, lack of sleep, illness, or when they are pregnant or taking antibiotics. Women with immune suppressing diseases such as diabetes and HIV infection are also at increased risk.
Getting the proper treatment for yeast infection is important as with all medical conditions. You should always consult your physician about the proper treatments, your doctor will more than likely use anti-fungal medicine to kill off the fungus that causes a yeast infection.
Since yeast infections have an annoying tendency to return – it is a good idea to follow these simple steps in keeping yourself and others safe when you have or have had a yeast infection; you should try to avoid sharing towels and washcloth’s with others, this can help prevent the spread of yeast infections.
Also be sure to bathe properly and dry completely before dressing.
Diet for Yeast Infection Symptoms:
Any woman with a yeast infection should be particularly careful about her diet because some foods actually promote fungal growth. As yeast fungus thrives on sugars and carbohydrates, relief should be found by following a vegetarian nondairy diet of protein, unrefined grains, and vegetables.
Onions and garlic are also very helpful. Fresh, raw garlic is the best. Avoid meat-based proteins.
Try to include:
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
- Essential fatty acids
- Plenty of fresh water
- 1/4 cup Oat bran daily
Try To Avoid:
- Animal fats
- Dairy products, such as cheese, ice-cream
- Fast food
- Pickle, vinegar or any yeast product
- Fermented food
- Hydrogenated oils and margarine
- Processed foods
- Sugar, sweets, chocolates
- White and processed flour products
Treatments For Female Yeast Infections
There are many over-the-counter treatments for yeast infections which can be easily found in stores. The treatments are usually anti fungal creams which are inserted into the vagina before bedtime.
Some treatments are 1 day treatments, while others are 3, 5, or 7 day treatments. The shorter the treatment time, the higher the cost. Please take note that pregnant women are advised not to use any medicated products unless advised by their doctor.
Over-the-counter medicated treatments cures the majority of yeast infections, however they can be only temporary treatments. The yeast infections may come back, even worse than before.
There are also much more natural ways to cure yeast infections and many women who use natural treatments report never having another yeast infection again. This is probably because the natural, holistic methods listen to the body and gets to the root of problem, while the creams temporarily kill candida in the vagina, which is always present in the body anyway.
See the homeopathic yeast treatment pictured below. It can be purchased here.
However, the key to success in eliminating yeast infection symptoms for good is working with your body and keeping it healthy. This will eliminate the internal cause of yeast infection by maintaining an inner balance where any yeast is always kept in check.