A vaginal yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is a very common condition. Bearing in mind, a healthy vagina contains bacteria and some yeast cells. But, when the balance of bacteria and yeast changes, the yeast cells can multiply. This causes intense itching, swelling, and irritation.
It’s more likely that treating a vaginal yeast infection can relieve symptoms within a few days. And in more severe cases, it may take up to 2 weeks. A pelvic exam will be performed by your OB/GYN to examine swelling and possible discharge.
Generally, vaginal yeast infections aren’t considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), commonly known as the sexually transmitted disease (STD). Although sexual contact can spread it, women who aren’t sexually active can also get them.
Once you get a yeast infection, you’re also more likely to get another one. So, what is it and how is it clinically treated? Please, follow my leads below to learn more.
What is Vaginal Yeast Infection?
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.
Also called vaginal candidiasis, vaginal yeast infection affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetimes. Not forgetting, many women experience at least two episodes.
The fungus Candida Albicans is responsible for most vaginal yeast infections. As an example, your vagina naturally contains a balanced mix of yeast, including candida, and bacteria.
In the end, an overgrowth of the yeast can result from Antibiotic use, which causes an imbalance in natural vaginal flora.
Is Vaginal Yeast Infection Contagious?
For your information, most yeast infections are not contagious. But, infrequently, the yeast infection can be transferred between men and women during sex.
However, since most yeast infections are not transferred from person to person, a yeast infection in the vagina, or penis/foreskin is not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Though yeast infections can happen to anyone at any time, there are certain things that make getting them more likely. But, most infections can be cleared up quickly and easily.
The main causes of vaginal yeast infections are;
- Hormones: Changes during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause (or if you’re taking birth control pills) can change the balance in your vagina.
- Diabetes: If your diabetes is not well-controlled, the increase in sugar in the mucous membranes (moist linings) of your vagina can create a place for yeast to grow.
- Antibiotics: Some of the antibiotic drugs can kill off many of the good bacteria that live in your vagina.
- Douches and vaginal sprays: The use of these products can change the balance in your vagina.
- A Weakened Immune System: For instance, if you are HIV-positive or have another immune system disorder, the yeast may also grow uncontrolled.
Can Oral Sex lead to Vaginal Yeast infection?
At least one study has shown that receiving vaginal oral sex increases your risk of vaginal yeast infections.
That’s because oral sex introduces bacteria and Candida from your partner’s mouth, tongue, and gums to your vulva. This includes your vagina, labia, and clitoris. Your risk for infection increases if your partner has oral thrush.
If your partner goes on a kiss or licks other parts of your body, these bacteria and fungi can spread elsewhere. This includes your mouth, nipples, and anus. And although it’s possible to transmit a yeast infection through vaginal intercourse, you may be more likely to develop a yeast infection as a result of:
- irritation from wearing wet or sweaty clothing,
- douching or taking birth control pills, antibiotics, or corticosteroids,
- having high blood sugar, pregnancy, and or even breastfeeding. etc.
Signs and Symptoms
In the first place, the vagina normally contains a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast. And in that case, the hormone estrogen helps bacteria called lactobacilli to grow.
Secondly, these bacteria kill harmful organisms in the vagina keeping you healthy. But, when something happens to tip that balance, a fungus called candida can grow out of control and cause a yeast infection. Notably, itchiness and discomfort are the main symptoms of a yeast infection, but there are others.
You may also experience any or all of the following:
- Burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and the vulva (the outer part of the female genitals)
- Pain or burning when you pee
- Pain during sex
- A thick, white, odorless discharge, similar to cottage cheese
If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor before treating yourself.
The symptoms of yeast infections are similar to other, more serious conditions, including sexually transmitted infections and bacterial vaginosis (bacterial overgrowth in the vagina).
Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is important so you can get the best treatment.
Precautionary Treatment and Preventive Measures
Yeast infections often cause thick, white, clumpy vaginal discharge that usually doesn’t smell (or only smells slightly different than normal).
Additionally, most yeast infections lead to itching, burning, and/or redness in or around the vagina. Vaginal itching usually gets worse the longer you have the infection. If you’re sure you have a yeast infection, you may be able to treat it with an over-the-counter cream. Such as miconazole (Monistat) or butoconazole (Gynazole).
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There are also home remedies you can try, though the clinical data on how effective they are is mixed. And as an example, wearing breathable cotton underwear can help ease discomfort while you wait for your symptoms to clear. Taking warm baths with Epsom salt may also help relieve itching.
Once you’ve started treatment, your yeast infection should clear within three to seven days. But, make sure you continue the full course of treatment to ensure the infection has completely cleared.
On the other hand, if your symptoms persist, see your doctor or any other related healthcare provider. For one thing, they can confirm whether your symptoms are the result of a yeast infection. And also, it may help them to prescribe an oral treatment or stronger antifungal suppository.