If you’ve ever experienced a yeast infection, then you understand the discomfort and inconvenience it causes. For some women, yeast infections can be a frequent or even a chronic problem that interferes with everyday life. Whether it is your first yeast infection or one of many, you are probably wondering what exactly a yeast infection is.
Unlike many infections that are caused by bacteria and viruses, a yeast infection is one of the few that is caused by a fungus. This fungus, called Candida, is a naturally occurring microscopic organism that lives in the vagina. Usually those yeast cells live in a balance with several other types of bacteria, but when there is an imbalance, then those yeast cells can multiply. There are several reasons the body may become imbalanced and lead to a yeast infection. It commonly occurs after taking a course of anti-biotics or during pregnancy. However, there are other scenarios that can lead to a yeast infection including a weak immune system, diabetes, poor diet, stress, sleep deprivation, and general hormone imbalances.
As more and more yeast cells proliferate in the vagina, there is usually a set of unpleasant symptoms that accompany it. Most women who have a yeast infection experience itching, swelling, or soreness in addition to a grey or white discharge which may women describe as looking like cottage cheese. While a yeast infection is generally not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease, yeast infections have been known to spread via sexual contact.
There are a few precautions and preventative measures that can be taken to avoid the occurrence of a yeast infection. Most doctors advise to avoid douching and scented feminine items (like tampons) because these items change the balance of microorganisms in the vagina, potentially leading to a yeast infection. When it comes to douching, remember that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and douching is not needed except in very special circumstances. It is also advised not to wear tight or wet clothing for extended periods of time.
While it is important to treat your yeast infection, keep in mind that it is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. A yeast infection may seem worrisome if you have never had one, but they are a very common occurrence. In fact, approximately 75% of women get a yeast infection at some point of their lives. If it is your first yeast infection, you may want to visit your doctor as a precaution (and to rule out other possible infections). Additionally, if you experience frequent or chronic yeast infections, you should also seek medical advice to learn more about how you can prevent future yeast infections. However, there are over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments that can be used to treat a yeast infection at home.
If you think you may have a yeast infection, do not wait around to treat it. There’s no need to feel uncomfortable any longer! Call to schedule your appointment with one of the OB/GYN’s in Brentwood, TN.