Vaginal Yeast Infection is a fungal infection caused by excess growth of Candida or yeast in the vagina due to the imbalance of bacteria. This infection is characterized by vaginal irritation or itchiness, swelling and irritation. This infection is not considered as a sexually transmitted infection but those who are sexually active are highly susceptible to it; those who are not sexually active might still get a vaginal yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infection is also known as Candidiasis, a common condition that occurs in other parts of the body other than the vagina. 75% of women experience a vaginal yeast infection during their lifetime and re-occurrence is also a high possibility. Vaginay yeast infection is the second most common cause of vaginal inflammation or irritation.
Causes of Vaginal Yeast Infection
There are many possible causes that manifest into vaginal yeast infection - it can vary from one person to another depending on their lifestyle or condition. Listed below are the possible causes:
Medication and Antibiotic Usage
The growth of yeast thrives when there is an imbalance of bacteria in the body. When a person takes broad-spectrum antibiotics, a large range of bacteria is killed - including the healthy bacteria in the vagina thereby leading to an imbalance and excess growth of yeast.
Changes in hormones can cause an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina and consequently cause a vaginal yeast infection. These hormonal changes include those who are pregnant, under menopausal, breastfeeding or those who have high estrogen levels or under estrogen therapy.
For women who have diabetes and their condition is not well-controlled, the surge of sugar in mucous membranes in the vaginal environment may possibly cause excess growth of yeast.
Immune System Disorders
For people with immune system disorders such as HIV, the growth of yeast can go out of hand which can lead to vaginal yeast infection.
Usage of Vagina Cleaning Agents
The usage of cleansing agents and sprays to the vagina can lead also an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina and can encourage the growth of yeast in the vaginal environment.
Testing and Diagnosis
The testing and diagnosis of vaginal yeast infection are usually done with three methods:
Also known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a commonly used analytical biochemistry assay, this type of testing detects the presence of protein using antibodies.
Vaginal Wet Mount Testing
This is done by placing a sample or swab of vaginal discharge is placed on a microscopic slide and observed under wet mount microscopy. The presence of pseudohyphae or yeast buds confirms the diagnosis of vaginal yeast infection.
Microbial culture is usually done when there are not enough cells in the sample to confirm a diagnosis. With this type of testing, the samples are placed in a special environment within the laboratory to encourage cell growth. This type of testing takes a longer time.
Modes of Transmission
Like bacterial vaginosis, vaginal yeast infection is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, it is still possible to acquire it from a different person.
There is also a condition called a penile yeast infection. If your partner has this and you engage in sexual activity, it is possible to acquire and have a vaginal yeast infection.
Yeast infection does not occur only in the vagina so if you engage in oral sex, it is possible for a yeast infection to grow in the mouth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are at high risk of getting Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Although any woman can get a vaginal yeast infection, there are some risk factors as to who has a higher chance of acquiring the infection. Such people include:
- People who are sexually active - they might acquire vaginal yeast infection through sexual activities.
- People undergoing antibiotic treatment - antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, whether they are good or bad bacteria. This leads to an imbalance and growth of yeast.
What are the complications of having Vaginal Yeast Infection?
There are no heavy complications of yeast infection, however, due to its symptoms, an affected person might encounter severe vaginal itchiness, swelling & redness in the vagina, pain during penetrative sex or a burning sensation during urination - all of these symptoms might be uncomfortable to a person.
Can Vaginal Yeast Infection be cured?
Yes. Vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection so it is treated with anti-fungal medication. This type of treatment employs the usage of intravaginal agents such as butoconazole and clotrimazole and medicines taken by mouth such as fluconazole.
I have been diagnosed with Vaginal Yeast Infection, is it possible to be infected again?
Yes. Most women who have had vaginal yeast infections are likely to re-acquire this infection. If this happens, this should be discussed with professional personnel so that the proper duration for treatment is given.
Are there any other symptoms presented if Vaginal Yeast Infection is left untreated?
The most common symptom of vaginal yeast infection is vaginal itching and redness of the vulva. Another symptom that may present is a vaginal discharge that is thick and cottage cheese-like; this type of vaginal discharge is usually odor-free.
Tips For Prevention
Avoid being stressed
The growth of yeast is driven by the imbalance of bacteria or hormones and this is usually affected by a person’s mental and physical condition. Getting stressed or having a lack of sleep can cause stress and eventually cause some changes within a person’s body such as an imbalance in bacteria.
Abstain from sex
Although infections such as bacterial vaginosis or vaginal yeast infection can be acquired even by people who are not sexually active, they have a better chance of preventing such diseases if they do not engage in sexual activities.
Avoid usage of vaginal sprays, harsh washes, and douches
Usage of such products may cause an imbalance of bacteria that are in your vagina. Use only washes that are recommended by your doctor.
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