Oftentimes neglected, and most rarely spoken about, vaginal yeast infection can hurt and cause serious problems if unattended to. From simple discomfort to burning and discharge, the infection can bring significant vaginal pain, calling for a doctor’s intervention.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly around twenty species in the human body produce yeast infection, which is quite startling to hear. While pregnant you are even more prone to yeast infections due to your hormonal changes. Hence it is necessary that you know this basic information about vaginal yeast infections so you can stay safe.
What is a vaginal yeast infection?
Yeast or the fungal body called ‘candida’ usually exists in small amounts in the mucous membranes of the genital lining area. When in small amounts it does not cause any infection, but when it overgrows, it can disrupt the ecosystem balance of your body, resulting in a vaginal yeast infection or “Vaginal Candidiasis”.
The overgrown fungus Candida can result in abnormal vaginal discharge, pain, in and around your female genital area, and inflame your labia (outer sex organ). While these symptoms are the most common ones, in rare cases, vaginal yeast infections don’t cause any symptoms at all.
The vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy is quite common, as your estrogen level is generally high while you are pregnant. Similarly, women who take birth control pills are likely to experience vaginal yeast infections. Your doctor may suggest vaginal suppositories, creams, or in some cases tablets, considering how bad it is. Proper care is essential as this infection could affect your immune system.
Yeast infections are reported to be the second common cause of vaginal infections. On average, 3 in 4 women tend to experience a vaginal yeast infection at least once and approximately 1 in 2 get it recurrently. While sometimes vaginal yeast infections are self-diagnosed, when it gets more painful with a discharge that’s thicker than cottage cheese, a doctor’s help is a must.
Types of vaginal infections
In common, there are three types of vaginal infections.
- Yeast infections – the most common of all three is this, which is caused by a fungus called “candida”.
- Bacterial vaginosis – again a vaginal infection, but with a combination of the lower level of lactobacilli bacteria. The symptoms could vary from whitish, slippery, thick, clear discharge to itchiness and burning sensation, often accompanied by a fishy odor, during intercourse.
- Trichomoniasis – This is a sexually transmitted infection, caused by a single-celled parasite called “Trichomonas Vaginalis” and proves to be contagious. The symptoms again are irritation, pain, swelling, yellow gray/greenish vaginal discharge, with/without a fishy odor.
Symptoms and complications of vaginal yeast infections
Irritation, followed by itching in the female genital area including the vagina, vulva, or labia.Burning sensation while peeing or during intercourseSwelling and redness on the vulva areaSoreness, followed by severe painOdor-free watery yeast infection dischargeThick, cottage cheese kind of discharge
These symptoms could complicate if you have one of the following;If you are pregnant, the vaginal infections can increase the risk of complications including miscarriage, premature labor, premature birth. The risk sometimes gets passed to the newborn baby too during the birth, leading to diaper rash and/or inflammation of the baby’s mouth areaExcessive swelling and redness, leading to the severity in itching, sores, and tearsYou get yeast infections oftenYour diabetes is not in controlYour immune system is disturbed
Schedule a meeting with your doctor,If you are encountering the yeast infection and its symptoms for the first timeWhen you suspect something is not right but with no symptoms at allIf you have been trying over-the-counter medicines, (which are not advisable while you are pregnant), but with no proper resultWhen you develop symptoms other than those mentioned above
Natural remedies for vaginal yeast infection
Here are some natural remedies that can be safe for most with yeast infections. However, this is not applicable if you are:Pregnantexposed to a sexually transmitted infectioninfected by recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), which is most common while with diabetesunsure of your symptoms that the vaginal infection causes
Remember to always seek the advice of your primary physician before trying any of the below suggestions.
Apply a dash of diluted Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can help fight yeasts and fungi, medical studies have proved it. You could add diluted tea tree oil to a stopper and insert it into the vagina. There is a word of caution here. The excessive use of tea tree oil could irritate your delicate vaginal wall’s skin. Hence prior to applying in your genital area, try and run a simple test by rubbing it around your forearm and wait for the reaction for up to 24 hours. If there are no counter-reactions, you can try it on your genital area.
Essential oil of oregano
Oregano oil is believed to ease the girth of C. Albicans. It is recommended to mix 2-5 drops of essential oil with a carrier oil (per ounce) and apply it to the infected region. Care has to be taken not to apply this inside your vaginal region.
Home-made unsweetened, natural yogurt fights probiotic bacteria, which helps to balance yeast in the body. A review confirms that women have healed from intaking yogurt in their diet every day. Nevertheless, more research is yet to be conducted to prove that yogurt can treat or prevent vaginal yeast infections.
Warm coconut oil
Coconut oil is known for its antifungal properties for ages and it’s often medically proven to fight yeast called Candida Albicans. Apply a layer of organic coconut oil on the infected areas for relief. You could even warm it up a bit with a mix of antifungal essential oils, like oregano or tea tree oil for better relief.
Apple cider vinegar
Vinegar which is proven to have medicinal properties can help ease your case. Take an apple cider vinegar bath by adding half a cup of apple cider vinegar to lukewarm water. Make sure you soak the mixture for half an hour prior to bathing for a soothing remedy.
Garlic is believed to be a Candida Killer as per a lab study, but it still remains debatable if it helps cure yeast-related infections. Take more garlic into your diet. In some cases, women who seem to have inserted garlic into their vagina by threading it, seem to have reported pain and burns. Hence, our advice is to include it in your diet.
Vitamin C is a balancer with antimicrobial components that can help treat excessive Candida growth. Add more Vitamin C into your diet to fight yeast infection. Do not try to apply vitamin C on your vaginal areas, as it may aggravate your sensitive tissue.
We know this is a little sensitive—a medical problem on the genital area is often embarrassing to discuss. But keeping this to yourself, without your partner or a doctor knowing it can only breed the infection more and double the risk of infecting others. So trust your doctor on this, and get well soon.
Photo Credits: scientificanimations, healthguidereview
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