Vaginal yeast, is also known as candida vulvovaginitis or candidiasis is a fungal infection that affects the vulva or opening of the vagina. It is estimated around 3 out of every 4 women will have at least one yeast infection in their lifetime.
Yeast infection can even occur in men and children.
CAUSES OF VAGINAL YEAST
The causes of vaginal yeast is basically the overgrowth of fungus candida in the vagina.
Bacteria and yeast generally dwell in the vagina but their levels are kept under control by a special bacteria called lactobacilli. This bacteria prevents harmful bacteria from growing by killing it, thus keeping the vagina healthy. But, in some circumstances, fungus candida can grow over control and cause a yeast infection.
There are several risk factors that can expose a person to a yeast infection.
Risk factors that are known to be the causes of vaginal yeast infection are;
- Having a weak immune system
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Use of antibiotics
- Lack of sleep
- Taking oral contraceptives
- Excessive consumption of processed carbs and sugars
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Before attempting the use of any antibiotics or even oral contraceptives, try to get full advice from the doctor so that if you experience any sign of yeast infection and report to them, they will be aware of what has caused it and will probably provide a remedy as fast as possible.
Having a weak immune system
Having a weak immune system increases the possibility of getting a yeast infection.
The weak immune system is a sign that your body cannot defend itself. This is mostly caused by having other diseases like HIV which weaken the immune system thus making the body to be vulnerable to external attacks.
Having severe or chronic stress has been found to be able to affect the immune system negatively and thus increasing the chances of contracting a yeast infection.
Stress can play a role in increasing the production of hormones that help in suppressing harmful bacteria and fungi in the vagina. An increase in the production of these hormones will cause the fungi to overgrow thus causing yeast infection. This argument though still needs more scientific study to back it up
Increased diabetes incidences mean an increase in blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels breed perfect conditions for the growth of yeast in your vagina.
The overgrowth of yeast is geared towards lowering the blood sugar but at the same time leading to yeast infection.
Keeping your blood sugar level under control can help in reducing the incidences of this disease.
Yeast infections are very common during pregnancy, experts claim.
This could be due to an increase in estrogen levels in the body. This will provide appropriate conditions for the growth of fungus candida which causes yeast infections.
Use of antibiotics
Taking antibiotics is geared towards killing harmful disease-causing agents in the body but sometimes the antibiotics can do extra work. The antibiotics can destroy even the useful bacteria in the vagina. The useful bacteria in the vagina is used to curtail the overgrowth of bacteria and other disease-causing agents.
Destruction of this bacteria will cause fungi candida to overgrow thus causing yeast infection.
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep has been witnessed to be one of the causes of yeast infection. This is because having inadequate sleep can create stress in the body and thus lead to a possible increase in yeast infection.
Taking some oral contraceptives
Taking some oral contraceptives can increase the chances of getting yeast infections but birth control on itself does not play a role in yeast infection.
Some hormonal birth control methods disturb the body’s natural hormonal balance and thus increase the risks of yeast infection.
Excessive consumption of processed carbs and sugars
Excessive consumption of processed carbs and sugars can escalate yeast infection and increase the risk of suffering from it.
Excessive sugar consumption increases the risk of yeast infection especially in people with a weakened immune system.
The allegation that the consumption of processed carbs causes yeast infection still needs more research.
Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption
Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption is highly discouraged as it can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and eventual in possible yeast infections.
SYMPTOMS OF VAGINAL YEAST
The common symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include;
- Vaginal rash
- Vaginal itching
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal discharge that is thick, white and odor-free
- Redness of the vulva and it can also swell
- Fatigue that might become chronic
- Recurrence in UTI infections
- Mood swings and irritability
Most of the symptoms of yeast infection are very easy to notice on a personal level.
There are different methods a gynecologist can use to establish the existence of vaginal yeast infection.
The methods used for diagnosis can include;
- Symptoms assessment and medical history – The gynecologist will ask questions about the symptoms that have been witnessed and also check on the patient’s medical history. This will help in knowing if actually there are symptoms that are linked to yeast infection and also to establish if there was any incidence of disease infection that could facilitate yeast infection.
- Pelvic exam – The gynecologist will examine the external genital organs to establish any signs of an infection. They can also use a pendulum to hold your vagina open and examine the possibility of any signs of yeast infection.
- Vaginal secretions test – The doctor can use a swab to rub on the vagina and get the secretions and then take them to the lab for testing to establish any possibilities of an infection.
TREATMENT OF VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION
Treatment of vaginal yeast can involve the use of creams, home remedies and other therapies depending on your doctors decision basing on the extent of the infection.
The common methods used in the treatment of vaginal yeast are;
- Use of creams and suppositories – This is highly recommended for pregnant women.
- Home remedies – This involves the use of natural remedies which can include; use of coconut oil, garlic, plain yogurt taken orally or inserted into the vagina
- Doctors can also prescribe long-course vaginal therapy if the symptoms are severe.