What Is a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
It’s estimated that about 75% of all women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. And many will experience quite a few more than that. In fact, for some women, yeast infections are a chronic, recurring problem that seems like it will never go away.
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus occurs in the vagina naturally, and usually doesn’t cause any problems. But, when the fungus overgrows for any reason, the result is a yeast infection.
What can cause Candida albicans to grow out of control? Unfortunately, lots of things. Anything that can irritate the vaginal area can trigger an overgrowth of yeast.
Using scented feminine hygiene products is one of the common causes of vaginal irritation. These products tend to be very popular. But, while they might be able to control feminine odor problems (which many who use these products don’t actually have), they also can create an environment in which yeast can thrive.
Taking birth control pills and other prescription medications can also do it. Even the foods you eat can trigger an overgrowth of yeast and trigger a yeast infection.
Many women are embarrassed that they have a yeast infection. But what they must remember is that this is a common condition that can be controlled or even eliminated.
Yeast Infection Symptoms: What to Look For?
Do you have a vaginal yeast infection?
Many women don’t even realize they are suffering from a vaginal yeast infection. They just ignore the signs and symptoms, no matter how unpleasant. But, when you learn to recognize these signs, you can begin treatment early, you can get rid of the pain and discomfort of a vaginal yeast infection.
Here are the symptoms you should look out for.
- Itching, the most common symptom.
- Vaginal burning or irritation.
- A thick, white, cottage-cheese-like discharge. (Although not all women with yeast infections experience this discharge)
- A change in the color or odor of vaginal discharge.
- Pain during urination.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Mild vaginal bleeding.
Not everyone with yeast infections will experience all of these symptoms, which can be part of the problem. Some women think that a thick, white discharge is the main symptom. If they aren’t experiencing such a discharge, they must not have a yeast infection.
But a discharge doesn’t have to be present. In fact, the one symptom common to all yeast infection sufferers is itching.
When you know the symptoms of vaginal yeast infection, you can usually catch it as soon as your body starts showing the signs. And, the earlier you start treating this condition, the sooner you can make it go away.
Do Over-the-Counter Remedies for Yeast Infection Really Work?
Even if you only had one yeast infection, you probably want to do everything to make sure you don’t have to experience another one. And, if you suffer from chronic, recurring yeast infections, you’re probably looking for ways to stop the cycle once and for all.
These days, there are all kinds of over-the-counter (or OTC) remedies for this condition. But users have to use caution when buying these non-prescription medications. While some OTC products do work to kill yeast, the cause of the infection, others only relieve the symptoms. For example, some OTC medications might relieve the burning and the itching for a while, and might even help decrease vaginal discharge. But they don’t actually do anything to make the infection go away any faster.
Even OTC medications that actually kill yeast and help get rid of the infection, this could only be temporary. These products usually don’t treat the underlying cause. So, if you are prone to suffering from chronic yeast infections, there is a good chance you will be going through the same thing again at some point.
Many believe the best solution is using a comprehensive program designed to treat the underlying causes of the condition. Such a program can drastically reduce the number of infections you suffer, or even rid you of chronic yeast infection permanently.