With 75 percent of women experiencing vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lifetime, it’s important to know what it is, how to identify it, and why should you take vaginal yeast infection seriously.
Vaginal yeast infection AKA candidiasis is a common condition that occurs due to the over multiplication of yeast cells in the body. Although a healthy vagina does contain some yeast cells and good bacteria, if the balance is tripped, yeast colonies grow rapidly, causing a vaginal yeast infection.
In most cases, the symptoms of vaginal yeast infections are relieved through treatment within a few days to weeks. However, in severe cases, it can stretch longer.
Although yeast infection is common in both males and females, vaginal yeast infection is more severe and exposed. Typically, yeast infections aren’t considered sexually transmitted (STI) and although they can spread through sexual activities, it’s not an absolute factor to obtain them.
What Are the Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infection, depending on the severity, displays multiple symptoms which are also common for other conditions.
Even if you face multiple of the below-mentioned symptoms, don’t self-diagnose without consulting your gynecologist.
- The most common symptom of vaginal yeast infection is itching in the vagina and vulva-the opening of the vagina is called the Vulva. However, for such symptoms, 1 day yeast infection treatment ointments are quite effective.
- Vaginal swelling is indicative of severe yeast infection. If you notice your vagina swelling up with a “cherry red” occurrence, it’s wise to visit a doctor.
- A burning sensation while urinating or having sex is closely associated with a vaginal yeast infection.
- Vaginal soreness and visible rashes are also common symptoms of yeast infection.
- Vaginal discharge with a slightly pungent odor.
Why Should You Take Vaginal Yeast Infection Seriously
Being one of the most common vaginal infections, yeast infection demands serious consideration; for it can develop into other severe physical and mental conditions.
Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t neglect prolonged vaginal yeast infection if the home remedies don’t seem to work out.
Risk of Underlying Conditions
Vaginal yeast infection shares symptoms with other more severe sexual conditions such as herpes, genital warts, and trichomoniasis. These are sexually transmitted infections that can be spread to your partners during sexual acts.
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) has the most mutual symptoms with a vaginal yeast infection. Apart from redness, itchiness, and swelling, you might also confuse BV with yeast infection for the grey or white fluid discharge.
Antibiotics are often prescribed for bacterial vaginosis, which is not a remedial practice for vaginal yeast infection.
- Cleaning and skin products may trigger allergic symptoms in your vulva and vagina. Which are, if not indistinguishable without swabbing, similar.
Soaps and vaginal ointments that contain steroids sometimes cause irresistible itching and feel similar to symptoms of vaginal yeast infection.
- Although rare, hemorrhoids-accumulation of swelled veins in the anal canal can also affect your vulva and vagina causing itching, swelling, and redness.
- Lack of Estrogen can also be blamed for itching and burning sensations during intercourse. Lubricants can ease the symptoms without harming the inner linings of the vagina.
Reduced Sexual Activity
Although vaginal yeast infection isn’t considered an STI, it can spread through vaginal intercourses. Medical professionals recommend refraining oneself from having sex until the infection clears up. Moreover, symptoms of yeast infection may be uncomfortable for some individuals to have sex.
Persons with symptoms, if indulged in sex, risk prolonging their condition and transmitting it to their partner despite low transmissibility.
The conditions are met only for heterogenic relations. As one study finds, a woman having sex with another isn’t susceptible to spreading. If your partner is uncircumcised, the risk of transmission, although still in a lower range, grows higher.
However, as some symptoms are typical with other STIs, if you are still undiagnosed, refraining from having sex till the reports are generated could be a wise choice.
Lowered Self Confidence
An old study found a correlation between recurring vaginal yeast infection and clinical depression. The women with recurring infections had less self-esteem, and less satisfaction with life, and were more likely to suffer clinical depression than the ones who had no history of recurring yeast infection.
While the study may be old, the conclusion still holds in 2022. A woman, having to worry about her sexual health all the time, might not be able to engage in tangential things like dating and having a healthy sex life.
A more serious psychological issue that is correlated with yeast infections is social stigma. As Laken Brooks stated in her article, the stigma is associated with poor hygiene and vaginal yeast infections. Although it may seem true, hygiene has very less to do with a vaginal yeast infection. Even with proper hygiene and maintenance, yeast infections can and do appear.
Weakened Immune System
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a condition that is often associated with the usage of antibiotics. The antibiotics used to treat UTIs, in addition to killing the bad bacteria, kills some of the good bacteria too.
The good bacterias that keep the yeast colonies in check are sacrificed to treat UTIs. Thus, the yeast cells living in your body start regenerating rapidly and causes vaginal yeast infection. This is a sign of a weakened immune system.
A gentle reminder to the ladies who’ve been having recurring yeast infections and noticing physical weakness, HIV is also known to weaken the immune system.
Tips to Resolve Vaginal Yeast Infection
In addition to the typical ones, we’ve gathered several tips for you to manage your vaginal yeast infection more effectively.
Visit an OB-GYN
If you are experiencing symptoms of vaginal yeast infection, consult with your obstetrician-gynecologist as soon as possible due to the reasons mentioned above. Symptoms can be deceiving and your itchiness can be caused by many severe STIs.
Clotrimazole, Butoconazole, and Miconazole Nitrate are quite effective over-the-counter drugs to treat vaginal yeast infections. If you got them in the form of a cream, consider using them during bedtime as the creams are susceptible to leaking.
Oral medications and suppositories are also available with the same compositions for yeast infection treatment. Suppositories are oval-shaped encapsulated medications that you need to put inside your vagina to get faster relief.
Try Dry Heat
Victims of vaginal yeast infection advocate for dry heat all the time. And it works. A moist climate is the breeding ground for yeast cells. If you are in tropical areas where the moisture content is comparatively higher, your chances of getting relief increase by keeping your vagina drier. Dry heat also works to instantly ease the pain and swelling caused by the infection.
Check Your Sugar Intake
An increased sugar intake can spike the generation of yeast cells in your body. Especially in the vagina. Moreover, if you have diabetes, keeping the levels in check may reduce your risk of vaginal yeast infection.
Wash Undergarments Separately
This tip has helped many many women get out of their yeast cycle. If you wash your undergarments with your socks and gloves, try to separate them.
If possible, separately wash the undergarments in lukewarm water and with antibacterial solutions like Dettol. Dry them in the sun and wear fresh clean underwear every day.
Try Probiotics Instead of Yogurt
Eating or applying yogurt inside the vagina doesn’t work in most cases. But, if you are reaping benefits from using yogurt, why not try probiotics!
The lactobacillus family of bacteria that you are trying to employ to fight off your yeast infection are the basis of OTC probiotics. If yogurt works, probiotics can too.
Avoid Tight Pants
Avoid tight pants in summer. Tight pants often induce sweating and make your vaginal area moist and warm. If you already have a yeast infection, try to wear loose clothes made out of linen or cotton to accelerate the recovery process.
The Bottom Line
Vaginal yeast infection is a common but serious issue. As women are more prone to develop yeast infections, their lives are more affected by the condition. Physical symptoms associated with vaginal yeast infection are itching, swelling, and fluid discharge. However, clinical depression and lower self-esteem are also associated with a vaginal yeast infection.