Yeast infection causes
Vaginal thrush is an infection caused by yeast fungi of the genus Candida. According to statistics, 75% of women face it at least once in a lifetime.
Normally, the fungi are present in the body without any clinical manifestations. Changes in the vaginal pH can promote fungal growth and cause disease symptoms.
Thrush is not an STD. It can be triggered by low immune function, antibiotic intake, pregnancy, diabetes, etc.
Can virgins get a yeast infection?
Yeast infection (candidiasis) can occur in girls and women regardless of their age and the presence of hymen.
The infection, which can manifest itself as white thick clumpy discharge and itching, does not belong to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and, in many cases, has nothing to do with sexual activity.
Fungi of the genus Candida are part of the vaginal microbial flora. When they are few (their growth is restrained by the body’s defenses), there is no harm.
When the body is weakened, there is a risk of a yeast infection. Candidiasis can be triggered by frequent colds, stress, inadequate nutrition, poor hygiene, taking antibiotics, etc.
Yeast infection responds well to special antifungal medications.
Yeast infection and periods: what are the connections?
Periods do not cause a yeast infection, but can trigger it.
When you are on your period, the pH balance of your vagina changes. The vaginal environment becomes alkaline, which promotes the growth of Candida.
In addition, menstruation alters the hormonal balance and local immunity is weakened, which can also contribute to the development of a yeast infection.
To prevent candidiasis during menstruation, you should:
- enrich your diet with fruits, vegetables, and fermented milk products
- practice proper hygiene (replacing pads every 4 hours, and changing your panties at least once a day)
- avoid wearing thongs
- avoid using tampons, if you have symptoms of a yeast infection (clumpy discharge, itching, and burning)
Chronic yeast infection: myth or fact?
Yeast infection may seem harmless at first.
However, if you do not pay attention to the symptoms but ignore treatment, the infection can become chronic under certain conditions (low immunity, diabetes, etc.)
If you have had candidiasis four or more times during a year, this suggests a recurrent or a chronic yeast infection. In this case, it is much more difficult to cure.
It is necessary to undergo further examination; for example, take a smear test to identify a specific pathogen (determine the type of fungus).
The results of the tests will help the doctor prescribe the correct treatment and halt the progression of the infection
Can antibiotics really cause a yeast infection?
Yeast infection may be one of the side effects of antibiotic therapy.
Antibiotics kill not only pathogenic bacteria, but also beneficial microorganisms. This creates favorable conditions for the growth of the fungi that cause candidiasis or yeast infections.
To prevent a yeast infection during or after antibacterial therapy, many doctors recommend taking probiotics.
They are contained in food (yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, sour cream), as well as in specifically designed medications and biologically active additives.
Probiotics help balance the flora in the body, including in the vagina, and prevent pathogenic microflora from reproducing.
They also positively affect digestion, produce vitamins (vitamin K, folic acid, etc.), normalize cholesterol, and stimulate the immune system.
Medications containing probiotics can be bought in a pharmacy, but you should consult a doctor before taking them. They will determine the adequate regimen and duration of treatment for you.
Can you have sex when you have a yeast infection?
If you have a yeast infection, it is better to abstain from sex.
Although candidiasis does not belong to the group of sexually transmitted diseases, there is a risk of your partner with weak immunity getting yeast infection from sex if it’s unprotected.
In addition, having sex can cause your inflamed mucosa to get microtraumas, which may aggravate the condition.
There can be discomfort because a yeast infection is usually accompanied by itching and soreness.
If you were not experiencing those symptoms before sexual intercourse, you are likely to afterwards.
Can yeast infection symptoms be absent?
Candidiasis is not always accompanied by severe symptoms. In 20% of cases, there is no characteristic clumpy discharge and itching. It may be asymptomatic.
A smear test can be used to detect the condition. The result will show the excess concentration of fungi.
Such an infection can sometimes have slight symptoms (for example, irritation of the vulva).
The asymptomatic course of the infection lowers your immunity and poses danger in the event of conception. There is a threat of pregnancy complications and transmission of the infection to the child.
Regular examinations by a gynecologist and taking tests will help identify the problem.
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How to prevent a yeast infection
Yeast infection is a common medical condition. According to statistics, 75% of women face it at least once in their lifetime.
The main rule is to avoid self-diagnosing and self-medicating. In the event of any ailments or suspicions, you should consult your doctor.
To prevent a yeast infection, you should:
- take tests regularly and, if necessary, treat sexually transmitted diseases because candidiasis is a frequent companion of STDs
- avoid sexual contact with people who might possibly be infected
- monitor blood glucose levels, especially if you have a risk of developing diabetes
- practice proper personal hygiene, wear loose clothing made from natural fabrics (Synthetic material creates a moist environment, ideal for fungi growth.)
- avoid using intimate deodorants, perfumed soaps, scented pads, and tampons. Do not resort to douching unless it is prescribed by a doctor.
Balanced nutrition is also crucial to prevent infection. You should add foods rich in fiber and protein into your diet, as well as probiotics (fermented milk products).
Yeast infection and diet
Eating the “right” food will not cure a yeast infection, but a healthy diet will help you get rid of the infection faster and make its recurrence less likely.
It is recommended that you cut down on products containing:
- a large amount of sugar, such as sweets, candies, carbonated drinks, some fruits and vegetables (Glucose is the breeding ground for fungi.)
- preservatives and colorants (marinades, smoked foods, sauces)
To fight yeast infections, you should include probiotics (contained in yogurt, sour cream, and kefir) in your diet. Products with antibacterial and antifungal properties (for example, garlic and some spices such as cloves, turmeric, and cinnamon) will be helpful, too.
Yeast infection diagnosis and treatment
Vaginal thrush manifests itself in itching, burning, vulva and vagina redness, abnormal (white and curdy) discharge, and pain during urination and sex.
In addition to discomfort, the symptoms can cause insecurity and anxiety.
It is important to consult a doctor when experiencing these symptoms. The doctor will prescribe treatment without any additional tests (Candidiasis symptoms are quite evident) or do a smear test for further examination.
Antifungal drugs are generally available over the counter, but recovery depends on the adequate dosage, drug form, and treatment duration prescribed by the doctor.
The doctor can prescribe pills that have a systemic effect on the body. Suppositories and creams introduced into the vagina (mainly at bedtime) produce a localized effect.
Taking a single dose of an antifungal medicine is sometimes enough to treat the infection, but a more serious therapy may also be required. If you are experiencing thrush symptoms, be sure to consult a doctor.
Yeast infection treatment: why don’t medications always help?
There is a wide range of creams, suppositories, vaginal pills, and oral medications available for yeast infections.
Many of them are available over the counter. However, despite the availability, some women can’t get rid of a yeast infection permanently.
It may become chronic and recur several times a year.
Here are the most common chronic yeast infection causes:
- The medication used is aimed at eliminating itching and burning but doesn’t have an antifungal effect. When buying medications, you should read the label carefully.
- The antifungal agent is not strong enough or the fungus species may be resistant to the drug being taken.
- The dosage is not sufficient.
- The infection is secondary to another serious disease. For example, the vaginal flora has not recovered after antibiotic therapy.
Therefore, the treatment should be carefully selected by a doctor. This will reduce the risk of a chronic infection (defined as four or more episodes per year).