Yeast Infection : Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factor, and Prevention

Yeast Infection: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention

Yeast Infection

Yeast infection

• A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge, and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva the tissues at the vaginal opening.

• 70 to 75 percent of women will get a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lives.

• 50 percent of these women will experience more than one infection.

• 5 to 8 percent of women experience recurrent or chronic yeast infections.

• Vaginal yeast infection is the second most common type of vaginal infection, after bacterial vaginal infection.

• Yeast lives naturally in the body and on the skin.

• Yeast infection is an infection resulting from the overgrowth of yeast.

• Yeast infection isn’t considered a sexually transmitted infection.

• There’s an increased risk of vaginal yeast infection at the time of first regular sexual activity.

• Some evidence that infections may be linked to mouth-to-genital contact (oral-genital sex).

• Most common are vaginal yeast infections, which cause itchiness and discomfort.

• Also called vaginal candidiasis, candidal vaginitis, or vulvovaginal candidiasis.

• Yeast infections are most commonly caused by Candida albicans.

• It is easily treated with antifungal medication.

Nongenital Yeast Infections

• The term “yeast infection” is most often used to refer to a vaginal infection. It also applies to other types of candidiasis.

Oropharyngeal candidiasis: a yeast infection of the mouth and throat.

Esophageal candidiasis, or Candida esophagitis: yeast infection affects the esophagus

Cutaneous candidiasis: a yeast infection of the skin

Invasive candidiasis: gets into the bloodstream, from using a contaminated intravenous catheter or as a complication of thrush, the yeast can cause a deadly infection

Candidemia: an infection of the bloodstream itself.

Duration of Yeast Infection

• Most yeast infections clear up within a few days.

• But up to 8 percent of women develop recurrent or chronic yeast infections.

Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Infections

• Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva

• Vaginal soreness

• Vaginal rash

• Burning sensation, during intercourse or when urinating

• Vaginal discharge that is clumpy

• Vaginal discharge that is watery

• Redness, swelling, and cracks in the skin outside the vagina (the vulva).

Causes of Yeast Infection

• Candida albicans is responsible for most vaginal yeast infections.

• Fungi of the genus Candida normally live on the skin and inside the body (mouth, throat, gut, and vagina) without causing health problems.

• 90 percent of vaginal yeast infections are caused by the species C. albicans.

• Most other cases are caused by C. glabrata.

• Less frequently, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei cause vaginal yeast infections.

• Vagina naturally contains a balanced mix of yeast, including candida, and bacteria.

• Certain bacteria (lactobacillus) act to prevent an overgrowth of yeast.

• About 20 percent of women have candida in the vagina that doesn’t cause infection.

• There are many species of candida, at least 15 of which are known to cause infections if they multiply out of control.

Overgrowth of the yeast can result from:

• Antibiotic use, causes an imbalance in natural vaginal flora

• Pregnancy

• Uncontrolled diabetes

• An impaired immune system

• Taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy

Risk Factor of Yeast Infection

Antibiotic use: Broad-spectrum antibiotics, also kill healthy bacteria in your vagina, leading to overgrowth of yeast.

Douches and vaginal sprays: can change the balance in your vagina.

Increased estrogen levels: more common in women with higher estrogen levels, such as pregnant women or women taking high-dose estrogen birth control pills or estrogen hormone therapy.

Uncontrolled diabetes: greater risk of yeast infections than women with well-controlled blood sugar.

Impaired immune system: Women with lowered immunity, corticosteroid therapy, or HIV infection are at higher risk to get yeast infections.

Sex: not considered a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed from person to person through sexual contact.

Prevention of Yeast Infection

• Practice good hygiene.

• Wear underwear that has a cotton crotch and doesn’t fit too tightly.

• Maintain proper diet, sleep, and exercise.

• Keep the area around the vagina clean and dry.

It might also help to avoid:

• Tight-fitting pantyhose

• Douching

• Scented feminine products, including bubble baths, pads, and tampons

• Hot tubs and very hot baths

• Unnecessary antibiotic use

• Staying in wet clothes, for long periods of time

Complications of Yeast Infection

• Pelvic inflammatory disease

• Infertility

• Ectopic pregnancy

• Pelvic abscess

• Spontaneous abortion

• Menstrual disorders

Diagnosis of Yeast Infection

• Treated with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal creams, ointments, tablets, suppositories, or oral medications.

• Bacterial vaginosis (vaginal infection caused by bacteria), trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection), and dermatitis (irritated skin) can cause symptoms similar to yeast infections.

• 34 percent of women who purchased OTC antifungal medications accurately diagnosed themselves with a yeast infection.

• Women can have candida in their vagina without showing symptoms.

Home remedies for vaginal yeast infections

• Povidone-iodine topical solution, ointments, and vaginal suppositories

• Tea tree oil

• Probiotics

• Boric acid

• Vinegar

• Sodium bicarbonate

Yeast Infections and Sex

• Yeast infections are not considered sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

• Most yeast infections are not transmitted from person to person.

• They can occur in people who have never had sex.

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