Yeast is a fungus that naturally exists in a balanced ratio with bacteria in the vagina. Sometimes, yeast cells may overgrow and upset the existing balance with bacteria, leading to a condition known as vaginal yeast infection.
Yeast infection symptoms are common but not usually serious. However, if left untreated, symptoms can become more severe.
Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
There are a number of symptoms that manifest when you develop a yeast infection. These include:
- Rash and redness around the genital area
- Swelling and/or soreness of the vaginal area
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Discomfort or pain while urinating
A whitish gray and clumpy vaginal discharge may also indicate yeast infectioni. The discharge may be watery or look like a cottage cheese.
Yeast Infection Treatment
Yeast infection can be treated both at home and using over the counter medicationsii. Mild symptoms will sometimes clear on their own after a few days. Simply practice good genital hygiene for the symptoms to clear.
If you have had an infection before and recognize the symptoms, you can take non-prescription medications. The medications can be oral antifungal tablets, a suppository that you put into your vagina, or an antifungal cream.
If you are pregnant, visit a doctor before using any yeast infection treatment medication. It is important to be aware that if you use a suppository or cream to treat the infection, do not depend on a diaphragm or condom for birth control. Most of these contraceptives are made of latex, which is weakened by some of the oils found in some yeast infection medicines.
Yeast infection can sometimes recur. If you get infections more than four times a year, see your doctor. A doctor may carry out a lab test on a sample discharge to determine what kind of Candida is causing your infection or whether the infection is caused by other health problems.
Natural Yeast Infection Treatment Options
If you want to avoid prescription medication, here are some at home remedies that may help alleviate the symptoms:
- Eating plain yogurt
- Boric acid vaginal suppositories
- Tea tree oil cream
Wash your hands before applying any oils or creams to your vagina. Also, talk to your doctor before trying any natural remedies. Some herbs can cause unintended side effects with some medications you may be using.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections
You can help prevent yeast infection by practicing good genital hygiene.
- Avoid fragrant douches or feminine perfumes, powders or sprays. Also, try to avoid using deodorant tampons.
- Change tampons or pads often.
- Remove a wet swimsuit right away. Wearing a swimsuit for hours can keep your vagina warm and moist, which can lead to overgrowth of yeast cells.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing such as tight-fitting jeans and a panty hose. These may increase your body heat and moisture in the vaginal area.
- Make sure your underwear does not hold moisture and warmth. Cotton underwear are a good choice as they help keep the vaginal area dry.
Hopefully by understanding the symptoms, treatment and prevention of vaginal yeast infection, you can limit your chances of experiencing it.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.