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Vaginal Yeast Infection

What are vaginal yeast infections?

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5 Ways to Quickly Relieve Vaginal Discomfort

When you’re experiencing vaginal itch or discomfort, the first thing on your mind is how to relieve it — fast. This video will show you five ways to quickly reduce vaginal discomfort.

You know the feeling. It’s that itch that you really want to scratch — but can’t. Vaginal itch affects millions of women. And while not every woman’s symptoms are the same or triggered by the same cause, there are ways to relieve and even control the itch.

Here are five things to try.

1. Change your detergent.

That mountain fresh laundry detergent of yours may smell good, but it may also be triggering vaginal itch. Detergents, fabric softeners, and other laundry products often contain harsh, irritating chemicals. These chemicals include phenols, brighteners, and potentially irritating fragrances. If you think your detergent is to blame, try another brand or product. Natural, additive-free detergents can clean your clothes just as well without the added physical irritation.

2. Eat more nuts and less sugar.

It’s 3 p.m., and the afternoon snack attack strikes again. Do you reach for the last donut in the conference room, or go for a handful of almonds instead? You know what’s better for you, but reaching for the almonds could also help prevent vaginal discomfort. Nuts are rich in oils, fatty acids, and essential vitamins. These nutrients may help with the effects of vaginal dryness. Refined sugars, on the other hand, have been shown to increase the likelihood of yeast infections.

3. Apply plain yogurt with honey.

We know: Thinking about a breakfast staple as a vaginal itch relief remedy may seem odd, even unappealing. But there’s some limited scientific evidence behind it. Yogurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, a healthy bacteria found naturally in the body, including the vagina. And honey has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal remedy. Applying this bacterium directly on the irritated area along with this sweet nectar can be soothing, and may be just as effective as using a vaginal cream. Make sure to use plain, unsweetened yogurt to avoid any possible irritation.

4. Ask about creams, ointments, and medications.

Having occasional vaginal discomfort isn’t something you should be too worried about. But if your discomfort is constant or starts taking over your day, it may be time to schedule a talk with your doctor or gynecologist. They will evaluate your symptoms and may suggest medications. Over-the-counter feminine-itch relief and estrogen creams can help, as well as antifungal ointments and oral medications. Of course, talk to your doctor or gynecologist to find out which remedy is best for your symptoms.

5. Measure your pH levels.

When you think of pH levels, the first thing that may come to mind is a swimming pool. But besides measuring the acidity of pool water, pH levels are also used to measure a vagina’s acidity level. A pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. The lower the number, the more acidic it is. The prime vagina pH is around 3.5 to 4.5, meaning there’s just the right amount of good bacteria. Anything above or below these levels can trigger a yeast infection, itchiness, or general discomfort. You can buy an at-home pH test or ask your doctor for a pH assessment to see if your levels are abnormal.

There you have it, five ways to find relief whenever that pestering itch appears. Because while most women experience vaginal discomfort at some point during their lives, it shouldn’t interrupt your daily life.

Sources:

NCBI: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1986759/, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803919/

Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1177/0884217503253439/abstract;jsessionid=53751B12B3F32B5071C5B68BB30862D2.f03t03?systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+will+be+unavailable+on+Saturday+3rd+September+2016+at+08.30+BST%2F+03%3A30+EDT%2F+15%3A30+SGT+for+5+hours+and+Sunday+4th+September+at+10%3A00+BST%2F+05%3A00+EST%2F+17%3A00+SGT+for+1+hour++for+essential+maintenance.+Apologies+for+the+inconvenience

NHS: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/vagina-health/Pages/keep-vagina-clean.aspx

Vaginal yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, are a common female condition. Yeast infections are caused by the fungus Candida. This fungus is associated with intense itching, swelling, and irritation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 3 out of 4 women will experience a yeast infection at one point in their lives. Once you get a yeast infection, you’re more likely to get another one.

Vaginal yeast infections can be spread by sexual contact, but in general they aren’t considered a sexually transmitted infection. Treatment for yeast infections is relatively simple, depending on their severity.

What causes vaginal yeast infections?

The Candida genus of yeast is a naturally occurring microorganism in the vaginal area. Its growth is kept in check by the lactobacillus bacteria. However, these bacteria can’t work effectively if there’s an imbalance in your system. This leads to an overgrowth of yeast, which causes the symptoms of vaginal yeast infections.

Most yeast infections are caused by a specific kind of yeast called Candida albicans. These yeast infections are easily treatable. If you’re having recurring yeast infections or problems getting rid of a yeast infection with conventional treatment, then a different version of Candida might be the culprit. A lab test can let your doctor know which type of Candida you have.

The imbalance that allows the overgrowth of yeast to happen can be due to:

  • antibiotics (they lower the amount of lactobacillus, or good bacteria, in the vagina)
  • pregnancy
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • weak immune system
  • poor eating habits, including a lot of sugary foods
  • hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle
  • stress
  • lack of sleep

What are the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infections have a common set of symptoms. Usually the length of time your yeast infection is left untreated has a direct impact on how severe your symptoms are.

Frequent symptoms include:

  • itching
  • burning
  • 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
  • soreness
  • rash

How are vaginal yeast infections diagnosed?

Yeast infections are simple to diagnose. Doctors will normally begin by getting 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. They will also 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. Tests are usually ordered 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.

What is the best way to treat a vaginal yeast infection?

Each yeast infection is different, so your doctor will suggest a treatment that’s best for you. Treatments are generally determined based on an infection’s severity.

Simple infections

For simple yeast infections, your doctor will usually prescribe the following treatment(s):

  • A one- to three-day regimen of an antifungal cream, ointment, tablet, or suppository. Common antifungal medications are butoconazole (Gynazole), miconazole (Lotrimin), Monistat, and terconazole (Terazol). These medications can be in prescription or over-the-counter form.
  • A single dose of oral medication, such as fluconazole (Diflucan).

Women with simple yeast infections should follow up with their doctor to make sure the medicine worked. A follow-up will also be necessary if your symptoms return within two months.

Complicated infections

Certain types of Candida will not respond to normal treatment and will require a more aggressive course of action. If you meet one of the following criteria, your doctor will more than likely treat your yeast infection as if it were a severe or complicated case.

  • You have severe redness, swelling, and itching that leads to sores or tears in your vaginal tissue.
  • You have had more than four yeast infections in a year.
  • Your infection is caused by Candida other than albicans.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You have uncontrolled diabetes or a weak immune system from medication or from being HIV-positive.

Possible treatments for severe or complicated yeast infections include:

  • 14-day cream, ointment, tablet, or suppository vaginal treatment
  • two or three doses of fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • long-term prescription of fluconazole (Diflucan) that is taken once a week for six weeks, or long-term use of a topical antifungal medication
  • treatment of your sexual partner or use of condoms when having sex

What natural and alternative solutions are available?

You can treat vaginal yeast infections with natural remedies if you would like to avoid taking prescription medication. These are some popular natural remedies:

  • tea tree oil cream
  • garlic or boric acid vaginal suppositories
  • plain yogurt taken orally or inserted into the vagina

How do you prevent vaginal yeast infections?

In many cases, you may know exactly what led to your yeast infection. For example, some women experience these infections every time they take antibiotics. By recognizing your own risk factors, you can prevent future infections.

Here are some common methods of prevention. Most are targeted at avoiding bacteria growth near the vagina:

  • avoid wearing tight pants, pantyhose, tights, or leggings
  • avoid using feminine deodorant or deodorant tampons or pads
  • don’t sit around in wet clothing, especially bathing suits
  • eat a well-balanced diet
  • eat yogurt or take supplements with lactobacillus
  • wear natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or silk
  • avoid sitting in hot tubs or taking frequent hot tub baths
  • wash underwear in hot water
  • avoid douching
  • replace old feminine products frequently
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