The vagina has some amount of healthy bacteria, which do not cause harm or infection. Similarly, yeast is a fungus that lives in the vagina, in small numbers. When the number of yeast cells grow, it turns into an infection known as a vaginal yeast infection.
A vaginal yeast infection causes irritation, discharge, and intense itchiness in the vagina and the vulva — the tissues at the vaginal opening. It also causes inflammation, which can be uncomfortable. It is quite common and affects 3 out of 4 women at some point. It can also recur at some point, so you do need to be careful. This infection is easily treated, so you need not worry.
Signs of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Irritation and discomfort in the vaginal area can be caused by a number of things, so how do you determine that it might be a yeast infection? Look out for these symptoms:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and the tissues at the vaginal opening
- A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Thick, white, odour-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- Extensive redness, swelling and itching that leads to sores may be indicative of a severe vaginal infection, and will need to be checked and treated by a professional.
Reasons of yeast infection
The main cause of a yeast infection is the overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida, also known as yeast. As mentioned, the vagina has small amounts of yeast and other organisms that are harmless. It is when the numbers grow higher that is turns into an infection.
Yeast infections happen mostly just before or just after the menstrual period. There are various elements that can cause this imbalance, which include:
- Medication, like some antibiotics, which kill the normal bacteria in your vagina
- Weight issues, like being overweight
- Conditions like diabetes and HIV
- Tight underwear made of material such as nylon or Lycra, which trap moisture and heat
- Impaired immune system
- Pregnancy, and taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
Treatment of vaginal candidiasis
Yeast infection is common and causes a little more than discomfort. However, it can be easily treated, with either oral medication, creams or vaginal suppository. Your doctor will be able to advise you what kind of treatment you need, based on the extent of the infection, and the causes behind the abnormal yeast growth.
You can try to prevent vaginal yeast infection by taking care of your vaginal area, and following these tips:
- Don’t use vaginal douching
- Wear a panty liner every day. This keeps your vaginal area dry and clean, ensuring yeast does not have the environment to grow
- Wear cotton underwear especially during the summer, and loose-fitting pants when you can
- Change out of a wet bathing suit or tight workout clothes as soon as you can
- Eat a cup of yogurt a day
- Keep your vaginal area clean with mild, unscented vaginal wash and warm water
- Wipe yourself from back to front to avoid passing bacteria from the anus to the vagina
- Change sanitary pads and tampons
Carefree Vaginal Washes and Pantyliners
Carefree cares for your vaginal health and has developed products that help keep you healthy every day. The CAREFREE® Sensitive intimate wash helps to gently clean and care for your intimate area, while respecting the natural pH level of the body. Mild and soap-free, this formulation can be used daily, and leaves you clean and fresh.
The CAREFREE® Aloe intimate wash helps soothe sensitive and inflamed skin. The addition of aloe is extra gentle on the vagina, providing a feeling of freshness and well-being. The formulation is pH balanced, and helps keep your skin soft and feeling good.
Wearing a panty liner every day can help keep your vaginal area dry and clean. In the absence of moisture, yeast growth stays in control, and infections are kept at bay. CAREFREE® panty liners provide additional benefits by keeping the skin soft, and balancing moisture levels to prevent dehydration.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.