Yeast infections in women, also known as vaginal candidiasis or vaginal yeast infections, are caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus, usually Candida albicans. These infections can cause discomfort and irritation. Here’s some information about yeast infections in women:
- Candida Overgrowth: Candida is a type of yeast that is normally present in the vagina in small amounts. An overgrowth can occur due to various factors, such as changes in hormonal levels, antibiotic use, weakened immune system, or uncontrolled diabetes.
- Itching: One of the most common symptoms is intense itching in and around the vagina.
- Burning Sensation: Women with yeast infections may experience a burning sensation, especially during urination or sexual intercourse.
- Redness and Swelling: The vulva and the area around the vagina may become red and swollen.
- Abnormal Discharge: A thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge is often present.
- Healthcare providers can diagnose a yeast infection through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and sometimes microscopic examination of a sample from the vaginal discharge.
- Antifungal Medications: The primary treatment for yeast infections is antifungal medications, which can be in the form of creams, ointments, or oral tablets.
- Over-the-Counter Options: Some antifungal treatments are available without a prescription. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis before using over-the-counter products.
- Probiotics: Consuming probiotics, either through supplements or yogurt with live cultures, may help maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the vagina.
- Avoiding Irritants: Minimizing the use of irritating feminine hygiene products, douching, and wearing breathable cotton underwear can help prevent yeast infections.
- Managing Blood Sugar: For women with diabetes, managing blood sugar levels is crucial in preventing recurrent yeast infections.
- Seeking Medical Advice:
- If a woman experiences symptoms of a yeast infection, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Yeast infections are common and usually not serious, but recurrent or severe infections may warrant further investigation into underlying causes. It’s crucial to follow the prescribed treatment plan and, if necessary, address any contributing factors to prevent future occurrences. If symptoms persist or worsen, seeking medical advice is recommended.