Vaginal Yeast Infections

May 15, 2018 Source: Internal - Aly Evangelista

What is a Yeast Infection?

Vaginal yeast infections occur when there is an imbalance of hormones. Typically, the vagina usually contains a balanced amount of bacteria and yeast. When we lack a hormone called estrogen, we lack the ability to kill harmful organisms in the vagina. Thus, causing an offset in the level of fungus, called candida, causing a yeast infection.

What Causes Yeast Infection?

There are many factors that can contribute to acquiring a yeast infection, they are typically things that cause an imbalance in the vaginal health, things like: hormones (ie. during pregnancy, breast-feeding, menopause or birth control pills), diabetes (poor sugar control results in a place for yeast to grow), antibiotics, vaginal washes, being immunosuppressed, or having sex.

What are the Symptoms?

There are many symptoms that can be presented if you have a vaginal yeast infection. those include and are not limited to: itchiness, discomfort, burning/redness/swelling of the vulva, pain during urination/sex, or having a thick, white discharge (same as cottage cheese consistency). However, this should be diagnosed by a doctor, as if it is something else (such as bacterial vaginosis or a urinary tract infection), taking antifungal medication can make yeast infections more difficult to overcome.

How do you Treat a Yeast Infection?

This type of infection is usually treated with over the counter antifungal creams/ ointments/ pills.

Who does it Affect?

Yeast infections can occur in any person, at any time and can be quite frustrating to manage. Unfortunately, they are very common in women, in fact, it's estimated that at least 75% of all women will develop at least one yeast infection during their life. While the chances to develop a reoccurring yeast infection are 40-45%.

How Do you Prevent it?

Doctors suggest that to prevent it, you must wipe from front to back after using the toilet, and only using antibiotics if it is absolutely necessary (as it typically kills healthy organisms). Furthermore, they suggest to wear loose breathing underwear and clothing to prevent holding onto heat/moisture, and to avoid douching as it can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina. Moreover, some studies show that eating probiotic yogurt or ingesting lactobacillus pills may inhibit the growth of yeast in the vagina (as it introduces healthy bacteria in the body).