Vaginal Yeast Infection: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Know the basics
1. What is vaginal yeast infection?
Vaginal yeast infections, or candidiasis, are a common female condition. Yeast infections are caused by the fungus Candida.
This type of fungus brings intense itching, swelling, and irritation. Vaginal yeast infections can be spread by sexual contact, but in general they aren’t considered a sexually transmitted infection. Generally, treatment for yeast infections is relatively simple, depending on their severity.
According to medical reports, vaginal yeast infections all have a common set of symptoms. Moreover, the length of time your yeast infection is left untreated has a direct influence on how severe your symptoms are. More specifically, some frequent symptoms include:
- Large or small amounts of vaginal discharge, often whitish gray and thick (although there are also times the discharge can be watery)
- Pain during sex
Diagnosis & Treatments
1. How is vaginal yeast infection diagnosed?
When your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, you will get a physical examination as well as some further tests.
Generally, yeast infections are simple to diagnose. Moreover, doctors will normally ask you to get information about your medical history. This will include whether or not you have had prior yeast infections.
Normally, doctors will also ask if you have ever had a sexually transmitted infection. The next step is a pelvic exam. Your doctor will examine your vagina and the surrounding area to see if there are external signs of infection.
Also, they will examine your vaginal walls and cervix. Depending on what your doctor discovers, they will take a vaginal sample to send to the lab for confirmation. Your doctor usually order test only for women that have yeast infections on a regular basis or for infections that won’t go away.
After an initial diagnosis, you may be able to determine the presence of a future yeast infection on your own.
2. How is vaginal yeast infection treated?
For mild to moderate symptoms and infrequent episodes of yeast infections, your doctor might recommend some treatment options below:
Short-course vaginal therapy
Antifungal medications are available as creams, ointments, tablets and suppositories. An antifungal regimen that lasts one, three or seven days will usually clear a yeast infection.
Moreover, a number of medications have been shown to be effective, including butoconazole (Gynazole-1), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat 3), and terconazole (Terazol 3). Some of these are available by prescription only, while others are available over-the-counter.
Side effects might include slight burning or irritation during application. However, you may need to use an alternative form of birth control. As the suppositories and creams are oil-based, they could potentially weaken latex condoms and diaphragms.
Single-dose oral medication
Your doctor might prescribe a one-time, single oral dose of the antifungal medication fluconazole (Diflucan). Otherwise, you may take two single doses three days apart to manage severe symptoms.
Over-the-counter antifungal vaginal suppositories and creams are effective for many women, and these are a safe choice during pregnancy. Typically, treatment lasts from three to seven days.
Moreover, treatment for a complicated yeast infection might include:
Long-course vaginal therapy
A treatment regimen of azole medications for seven to 14 days can successfully clear a yeast infection. Medication is usually vaginal cream, ointment, tablet or suppository.
Multi-dose oral medication.
The doctor might prescribe two or three oral doses of fluconazole instead of vaginal therapy. However, this therapy is not eligible for pregnant women.
For recurrent yeast infections, your doctor might recommend a medication routine to prevent yeast overgrowth and future infections.
Overall, medical researches prove that the fungus candida is the cause of vaginal yeast infection. Naturally, your vagina contains a balanced mix of yeast, including candida, and bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria produce acid, which prevents yeast overgrowth. That balance can be destroyed and lead to a yeast infection. Too much yeast in your vagina causes vaginal itching, burning and other classic signs and symptoms of a yeast infection.
The overgrowth of yeast can result from some following conditions:
- Antibiotic use, which decreases lactobacillus bacteria in your vagina and changes the pH of your vagina
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Impaired immune system
- Taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy, which increases estrogen levels
Overall, Candida albicans is the most popular type of fungus to cause yeast infections. Sometimes, other types of candida fungus are to blame. Common treatments usually cure a Candida albicans infection. However, yeast infections caused by other types of candida fungus can be more difficult to treat, and need more aggressive therapies.
Moreover, a yeast infection might happen after certain sexual activities, especially oral-genital sexual contact. However, a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection. Even women who aren’t sexually active can develop yeast infections.
2. Risk factors
In general, there are plenty of risks engendering vaginal yeast infection, include:
- Antibiotic use
- Increased estrogen levels
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Impaired immune system
- Sexual activity
Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.
GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Vaginal yeast infection. http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/vaginal-yeast-infections-topic-overview#1 Accessed December 27, 2016.
Vaginal yeast infection . http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/basics/definition/con-20035129 . Accessed December 27, 2016.
Vaginal yeast infection . http://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-yeast-infection . Accessed December 27, 2016.