Yeast Infection: Symptoms And Treatments

Think you may have a yeast infection? Read on for common symptoms, causes and treatments.

Of every four women in the United States, at least three will suffer from a vaginal yeast infection at one point in their lives. Women are often so embarrassed about a yeast infection that they refuse to go to a doctor or discuss their symptoms with a medical practitioner. This is mainly due to misinformation concerning the reasons why a woman contracts a yeast infection. Some women mistakenly feel that a yeast infection is the direct result of poor hygiene, so they guard their condition, often allowing the symptoms and infection to get worse.

Causes

Before going into the symptoms, what are some common causes of a yeast infection. A main culprit can be the use of doctor-prescribed antibiotics to treat another infection in the body. You may have always wondered why some doctors will suggest that a female patient being treated with antibiotics also eat a cup of yogurt every day. The reason for this is that antibiotics, especially antibiotics that must be taken for an extended period of time, often throws the vaginal acidity balance off, causing yeast to thrive. Other common causes of yeast infections are pregnancy, diabetes, steroids and birth control pills. Some studies have also shown that regular douching destroys the natural organisms that keep yeast in check. In addition, wearing jeans that are too tight, sitting in wet clothes (like a bathing suit or bikini) for too long and wiping from your anus to your vagina (back to front, as opposed to front to back) are also culprits for yeast infections.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of a yeast infection is the intense itchiness that does not go away with scratching. Having a thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese is also another symptom, as well as swelling and redness around the vaginal area. Women who have had yeast infections often complain about pain and irritation when urinating or having sex. While these symptoms are extremely common, do not attempt to self-diagnose a yeast infection. If you are at all concerned that you may have a yeast infection, see your physician or gynecologist to get checked. The symptoms of a yeast infection are very similar to symptoms of other more serious infections, so you will want to consult your doctor to rule them out.



Diagnosis

The only way to diagnose a yeast infection is to have a physician or gynecologist do a routine pelvic exam where they will check for discharge and redness and swelling. Some physicians will also take a sample of the discharge to test for an infection. However, if a woman has recurring yeast infections, she may be able to determine on her own, depending on the symptoms she is having, whether or not she has a yeast infection. To be positive, though, it is always recommended to consult a doctor.

Treatment

Your doctor will prescribe any one of a number of treatments. There are some pills that you can take orally, as well as antifungal prescriptions that are in suppository, cream, ointment or tablet form. If a woman has recurring yeast infections, there are also several over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat the infection. Once an infection is treated, the symptoms will usually stop within a few days.

Fortunately, yeast infections can be prevented. Always wipe from front to back. Stay away from clothes that fit too snugly in the crotch area. Underwear should be cotton, as opposed to silk or nylon, so that air can be easily circulated. Avoid douching and sitting in wet clothes for extended periods of time. If you have diabetes, be sure to control your blood sugar level at all times.

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