Small amounts of yeast are always in the vagina area. When too much yeast grows it will cause an infection. The yeast is a type of fungus. These organisms generally live in small numbers in the vagina. The infections occur when there is an overgrowth of this fungus. Excess growth of the vaginal yeast organisms include: using antibiotics, high estrogen during pregnancy, diabetes-when blood sugar is not controlled. A few other causes for yeast infections include being overweight, weak immune system, not keeping genital area clean and dry.
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
Most common symptom of a yeast infection in women is extreme itchiness in and around the vagina. Other symptoms include burning, redness and swelling of the vagina and the vulva. One may experience pain while urinating or during sexual intercourse. A thick white vaginal discharge may be present. A woman may not experience all of these symptoms. During a mild case of yeast infection only a few symptoms may be present.
Men who contract a yeast infection will experience a reddish rash along with itching or burning at the tip of the penis. Fortunately, most over-the-counter antifungal ointments are an easy remedy for men. The medication may need to be applied to the infected skin twice daily for a week. If the symptoms remain or reoccur, it will be necessary to consult a physician.
Should one partner have a yeast infection a physician will prescribe medication for both partners. This will alleviate the infection from re-infecting each other.
A vaginal yeast infection is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection.
Steps to Prevent a Yeast Infection
Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat dairy products. It has not been proven that eating yogurt with live organisms will prevent yeast infections. Cotton underwear is advisable. This will prevent moisture from developing in the genital area. Clothing such as tight jeans and panty hose increase body heat and moisture which will cause a growth of the yeast organisms. Keep the vaginal area clean by using mild soap and water. Rinse well.
Controlling diabetes and maintaining blood sugar levels will decrease the risk of a yeast infection in the body.
Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. If the antibiotic is not needed, it can produce an excess in growth of the yeast organisms. It is also advisable to avoid feminine sprays, talc, or perfume in the vaginal area or using scented toilet paper or deodorant tampons. A higher risk is to avoid douching. Douching can cause spreading of serious infections from the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes. This would be classified as a PID- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
Should a woman develop lower abdominal pain and a fever along with a vaginal discharge or have symptoms of a vaginal infection while being pregnant should contact her OBGYN immediately.
A cream or ointment may also be prescribed for a normal yeast infection to alleviate the burning and itchy symptoms.