Yeast Infections: What You Need to Know
Yeast infections are annoying, messy, and uncomfortable. The burning and itching can become intolerable, so you want relief and you want it fast. Yeast infections are quite common and most people with vaginas will get at least one in their lifetime. Fortunately, with a few lifestyle changes, you can reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection, and with the right medication, they're easily treatable. Read on to learn more about what causes a yeast infection, ways to prevent them and the best treatment to prevent getting yeast infections in the future.
What Is a Yeast Infection?
All vaginas have a healthy balance of yeast and bacteria. The yeast, called Candida albicans, plays a vital role in the health and well-being of the human body. Under normal circumstances, it doesn't cause any problems. However, when the yeast, which is a type of fungus, overgrows and gets out of balance, a yeast infection, called Candidiasis, occurs. Also growing in the human body is a bacteria called lactobacillus. This good bacteria helps to control the pH of the vagina and to keep Candida albicans from overgrowing. However, if the lactobacillus gets thrown off balance, the yeast takes advantage of the upset and begins to grow, resulting in a yeast infection.
While moderate yeast infections aren't dangerous, just super bothering, if left untreated, the yeast has the potential to get into the bloodstream, causing a widespread systemic or invasive yeast infection. Seeking treatment as soon as you feel that itch is the best way to get the yeast infection under control quickly.
How Do You Get a Yeast Infection?
A number of factors can contribute to getting a yeast infection, including:
Antibiotic use. Antibiotics often kill off the good bacteria within the human body, including healthy lactobacillus. Be sure to pay close attention down there after going through a round of antibiotics to make sure things don't get thrown off.
Uncontrolled diabetes. Unmanaged diabetes can cause blood sugar levels elevate and can contribute to yeast infections.
Increased estrogen levels. Higher estrogen levels can contribute to yeast infections. Some types of birth control can affect estrogen levels and lead to more yeast infections. Be sure to talk to your doctor to find out which birth control is right for you to prevent this.
A weakened immune system. When the immune system is compromised, the body has a harder time fighting off bacteria, fungus, and viruses.
Sexual activity. Often, people who are more sexually active experience yeast infections.
What Are the Common Symptoms of a Yeast Infection?
Yeast infection symptoms vary in severity depending on how much of an overgrowth of Candida albicans the person has. The most common symptoms include:
Intense itching and burning. One of the first symptoms at the start of a yeast infection is an intense itching around the vulva and the vagina.
Irritation of the vagina and vulva. If the infection worsens, irritation occurs around the vulva and inside the vagina as well as feeling soreness inside the vagina.
Swelling of the vulva. You may feel or notice swelling of the vulva and vagina.
Burning when urinating or during intercourse. When the vagina and vulva are swollen and irritated, urinating can become quite painful with an intense burning sensation. Intercourse is often painful as well.
Thick discharge. A thick, white discharge coming from the vagina is a common symptom of a yeast infection. The discharge normally has no odor but feels uncomfortable in your underwear.
What's the Best Way to Diagnose a Yeast Infection?
You'll usually know when a yeast infection begins. You start itching around your vagina, it burns when you pee or have intercourse, and a messy discharge that looks like curd stains your underwear. These symptoms can be unpleasant, but thankfully they are easy to diagnose and treat!
As soon as you start to experience these symptoms, contact our doctors and professional team at wisp for an online consultation. Without having to leave your home to go to the doctor or visit a clinic, our licensed doctors will go over your symptoms with you and ask you questions about your lifestyle and sexual and medical history while you remain in the privacy of your own home. Based on the information you share with them, our doctors will prescribe the proper medication and we'll ship it to you in discreet packaging. This way, no one needs to know you have a yeast infection or are taking medication for it.
How to Treat a Yeast Infection
The best way to treat a yeast infection is by following the wisp doctors' advice and recommendations for taking the medicine prescribed for you.
If yeast infections reoccur, with more than one or two per year, the yeast causing the infection might not be Candida albicans, but another fungal strain. If you experience chronic or recurring yeast infections, please contact our doctors so they can reevaluate your symptoms and prescribe different medications to help control the yeast overgrowth.
If your yeast infection keeps coming back, our doctors may need to prescribe long-course vaginal therapy with antifungal medicine that you need to take over a longer period of time. In addition, if you keep getting yeast infections, consider a few lifestyle changes like cutting back on sugar, alcohol and smoking.
How You Prevent a Yeast infection?
Keeping the lactobacillus bacteria thriving is one of the best preventions. While some yogurt has lactobacillus in it, it's usually not enough to keep the yeast/bacteria balance in check. Overuse of antibiotics is one of the main ways that lactobacillus dies off, so only use antibiotics when necessary and properly prescribed.
Eating the right balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates helps feed the body the proper nutrients it needs to keep the immune system strong. Try to reduce sugary foods, excess alcohol and processed foods. Getting enough sleep is also essential, as a lack of sleep can weaken the immune system. The right type of exercise for your body and lifestyle can also help to support your immune system.
The good news is that yeast infections are easy to treat, are not usually serious and when treated in a timely manner with the right medication, you'll be feeling better in a couple of days. Follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle and our helpful tips, and you may never have to experience a yeast infection again.