While most people have heard the term “yeast infection”, most people may be unsure of what it actually entails. Yeast is a fungal micro-organism that humans have used for thousands of years to cause bread to rise and to ferment drinks like beer.
Yeasts are found throughout the environment, including as part of the natural micro-organisms that live between people’s toes! Yeast can infect the body in a localized area; like the oral cavity, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, bladder or the sexual organs (vagina, penis). The most commonly known of yeast infections affect women and there are preventative measures that can be taken along with symptoms and treatments to know about.
Yeast cells have been found in the vaginas of apparently healthy women and have caused no symptoms of an infection. Susceptibility to yeast infections has been linked to a variety of causes including external use of irritants or internal hormonal or physiological disturbances.
Examples of external irritants can include detergents, scented toilet papers, douches and wearing wet swimwear for long periods of time. Internal disturbances have included antibiotic use, vaginal sex after anal sex without cleansing, and possibly oral contraceptives.
Individuals with immune-compromised systems resulting from conditions like HIV/AIDs, cancer treatments and mononucleosis. The use of steroids, stress or a nutrient deficiency has also been linked to a higher risk of yeast infections.
Eat a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products. Always keep vaginal area clean, washing it with mild soap and water. Special non-soap vaginal cleansers are available at pharmacies that cleanse vaginal tissue without irritating it. The best method is to keep the vaginal area dry and to wear non-constraining underwear; giving the area time to breathe. Also, avoid using scented toilet paper.
Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection primarily manifest as vaginal irritation; with itching, soreness, burning and irritation of the vaginal tissues. Some patients may experience a whitish or whitish gray lumpy discharge. The infection can be treated easily; but if it is left untreated, the complications in some segments of the population can be fatal.
A simple swab test at the doctor’s office can confirm if a patient is suffering from a yeast infection. If however, you experience a high fever and lower abdominal pain along with the vaginal discharge, call your doctor immediately.
The treatments for a vaginal yeast infection can range from a single oral dose of an anti-fungal agent or topical medication in the form of a vaginal suppository or douche.
A yeast infection is both preventable and easily treatable. Just listen to your body and you should have no concerns about curing your yeast infection.