A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that produces inflammation, secretion, and severe itching of the vagina and vulva.
The vulva is the membrane that lines the genital entrance.
Vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis, affects up to three out of every four women at some point in their lives. At least two episodes are common in many women.
Bacteria and yeast cells can be found in a healthy vagina.
However, when the bacteria-yeast equilibrium shifts, yeast cells can grow. Itchy, swollen, and irritated skin results as a result of this.
What is a vaginal yeast infection?
Yeast overgrowth is a common cause of vaginal infections (a type of fungus).
Yeast infections in the vaginal area normally clear up after a few days of antifungal treatment. It’s unclear whether home cures are effective.
A yeast infection in the vaginal canal is not considered a sexually transmitted infection.
However, around the time of the first regular sexual activity, there is a higher chance of vaginal yeast infection.
Infections may also be associated with mouth-to-genital contact, according to some studies (oral-genital sex)
Vulvovaginal candidiasis causes vulvar irritation and abnormal ‘cheesy’ or watery vaginal discharge.
After bacterial vaginitis, vulvovaginal candidiasis is thought to be the second most common cause of vaginitis. Candida Albicans is responsible for 85 percent to 90% of cases.
Yeast infections are most common in bleeding women (having monthly periods).
They are infrequent in girls who have not yet started cycling and are less common in postmenopausal women who do not use estrogen-containing hormone therapy.
Causes of vaginal yeast infection
Candida Albicans is responsible for the majority of vaginal yeast infections.
Your vaginal environment contains a healthy balance of yeast and bacteria, including candida.
Certain bacteria (lactobacillus) can prevent yeast overgrowth.
Yeast infection is often a result of candida overgrowth or penetration of the fungus into deeper vaginal cell layers.
Some of the causing factors or vaginal yeast overgrowth include:
- Antibiotic usage disrupts the normal flora of the vaginal cavity.
- Expectant motherhood
- Uncontrolled Diabetes
- Immune system dysfunction
- Using estrogen-stimulating oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
The most prevalent form of fungus that promotes yeast infections is Candida albicans.
Other kinds of candida fungus can produce yeast infections that are more difficult to treat and require more aggressive procedures.
Yeast infections are caused by a fungus that dwells in the gastrointestinal tract and, in some cases, the vaginal area. Candida usually has no symptoms.
Candida can overgrow and cause the symptoms described above when the environment of the gastrointestinal tract and vaginal area changes.
Treatments for vaginal yeast infection
Because each yeast infection is unique, your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you. Treatment will depend on how intense your symptoms are.
Your doctor will often recommend an antifungal gel, ointment, pill, or pain reliever for a 1-to-3-day course for uncomplicated yeast infections.
These drugs are available as prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Other than medications, some home remedies are:
1. Greek yogurt
Yogurt contains living bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, making it a probiotic.
These bacteria are necessary for maintaining a healthy vaginal environment. They can aid in the treatment of an imbalance-induced overgrowth.
Eating yogurt helps enhance the gut microbiome and can lower yeast in the body, according to a 2017 study.
Take probiotics if you don’t like yogurt. Food is the greatest way to take probiotics.
2. Boric acid
Boric acid is a strong antiseptic that some women believe can help them get rid of yeast infections that haven’t responded to previous treatments.
3. Essential Oregano oil
A study shows that oregano essential oil can be effective in reducing C. Albicans growth
Essential oils should not be consumed by mouth. As part of aromatherapy, they’re designed to be inhaled.
While some studies are looking at various ways to use oregano essential oils, it’s best to utilize it diluted in a carrier oil like olive or sweet almond oil for now.
4. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil as a vaginal suppository may aid in the treatment of vaginal infections. Also, tea tree oil has antifungal qualities, according to studies.
It helps in killing fungi, bacteria, and yeast.
Tea tree oil is quite potent. If it’s going to come into contact with your skin, dilute it with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil.
The best choice is to use tea tree vaginal suppositories that have already been made.
5. Probiotic supplements
Some probiotic pills could be able to help you get rid of a yeast infection naturally. You can find these in pharmacies and health stores, as well as online.
Some probiotic supplement companies produce products designed specifically for female reproductive health.
These can restore the vaginal bacterial and yeast balance. You can take the supplements either orally or as a vaginal implant.
How to prevent vaginal yeast infection
It’s likely that you already know what caused your yeast infection.
Some women, for example, have these infections every time they take antibiotics.
Whether you know what caused the infection or not, there are several habits you may adopt and avoid to help prevent a recurrence.
- Eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet
- Eat yogurt or taking lactobacillus supplements
- Dress in natural textiles like cotton, linen, or silk
- Do a hot water wash of underwear
- Frequently replenishing feminine products
People with a compromised immune system may be prescribed medication to prevent fungal infections. As a safeguard, some women take antifungal drugs while taking antibiotics.
Yeast infections are common, but quick treatment can help alleviate the unpleasant symptoms in a matter of days. You can prevent future infections by knowing your risk factors.
If you have persistent yeast infections that persist longer than two months, see your doctor.
The success of the treatment varies depending on the individual, the degree of the infection, and the treatment quality.
Talk to your doctor about more natural ways to prevent and cure vaginal infections if you experience them regularly.