Vaginal Yeast Infections: Facts You Should Know

The subject about vaginal yeast infections is a widely discussed topic amongst women forums. Typically, this are fungal infections of the vagina or vulva that can cause discomfort, itching, and white discharge.

Who is at risk of developing vaginal yeast infections

Many women get vaginal yeast infections – in fact, most will be infected at some point in their lives. Consequently, HIV-positive women tend to suffer more frequently since their immune system is weak and their CD4 counts are below 350 cells/mL. Here are some other possible scenarios where a woman can develop this infection.

  • Taking certain medications such as antibiotics, hormones (including contraceptives like “the pill”) and corticosteroids
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • High consumption of starchy foods or sugary foods.

Symptoms

A vaginal yeast infections can cause:

  1. Itching or vaginal burning sensations
  2. Redness or swelling of the vulva
  3. A thick white discharge from the vagina
  4. A burning sensation during urination (when urinating)
  5. painful intercourse

Diagnosis and treatment of vaginal yeast infections

In case you notice any signs, it is advisable to consult your doctor to confirm that if it’s a yeast infection since such symptoms may suggest other causes that would require a different type of treatment. Fortunately, these symptoms disappear completely with the right treatment.

Many vaginal yeast infections can be treated with products that you can buy at the pharmacy. These products include vaginal suppositories (a drug that you insert vaginally), creams or tablets. These treatments are cheap and have minimal side effects.

If your yeast infections are more persistent and recurring, your doctor will prescribe a medicine (tablets taken orally) which will have the effect of circulating in the blood throughout your body. Although systemic treatments for yeast infections are more convenient and work faster than local treatments, they seem to be more expensive.

To avoid getting a vaginal yeast infection or minimize its symptoms, you can also try the following:

  • Reduce your intake of sugar and starchy foods (starch-rich foods).
  • Eat sugar-free yogurt with a live bacterial culture; daily consumption of about one cup of plain yogurt with can help reduce the recurrence of yeast infections
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • When you have your period, change your sanitary pads and tampons frequently
  • After exercising, remove swimsuit and wet clothes as soon as possible
  • Avoid the whirlpool baths and the very hot baths