A vaginal yeast infection is a fairly common ailment among women. In fact, three out of four women would have experienced it in their lifetime. Here is a quick rundown on how to deal with the vaginal yeast infection.
What it is
The first thing is understanding what this ailment is. A vaginal yeast infection is essentially a fungal infection caused by an excessive presence of yeast cells in the vagina. This causes the irritation which then leads to an inflammation of the general affected area. With the right treatment, symptoms will dissipate in two or three days. Serious cases would take weeks and would require medical intervention. It is important to note that a vaginal yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI) since women who are not sexually active can also suffer from this condition. However, it can still be transmitted through sexual contact but since it is not the only way to contract it, it is not considered an STI.
As mentioned earlier, this particular infection is caused by an excess of yeast cells. This could be a direct result from various factors which include a weak immune system, stress, pregnancy, diabetes, poor diet, lack of sleep, or hormonal imbalance. Taking antibiotics may also increase the risk of a yeast infection since it targets Lactobacillus which is the bacteria present in the vagina that keeps yeast growth in check.
Signs and Symptoms
Understanding its signs and symptoms is also important when you want to know how to deal with vaginal infection. The most common would be irritation which would manifest through vaginal itching, rashes and general redness around the affected area, and swelling. Because of all these symptoms, it is expected that a person with vaginal yeast infection would feel a certain degree of pain and discomfort while urinating or having sex. As far as discharges are concerned, many women who have had an unfortunate bout with this infection have reported a whitish to grayish discharge that could either be coarse or watery.
Treating vaginal yeast infection would depend on the severity of the case. This is why one of the ways of how to deal with vaginal yeast infection is to have it diagnosed especially if it has not shown any improvement after two or three days.
An antifungal cream or ointment can usually do the job for the simplest of cases. Some doctors prescribe medication that a patient can take orally. There are many over-the-counter creams and ointment out there. All you have to know are the appropriate medications to treat this condition. The most common are clotrimazole, fluconazole, butoconazole, miconazole, and terconazole.
As said earlier, if symptoms continue to persist after a simple intervention, medical assistance is highly advised. If any of these apply to you, it is best to see a doctor immediately:
- are expecting a child
- have tears or sores on your vagina
- have a weak immune system
- have diabetes
- are a person living with HIV
- have a recurring yeast infection (three or four times in a year)
In most complicated cases, a higher dosage of fluconazole administered over a longer period of time may be prescribed. Doctors might also prescribe either oral medication or the usage of a suppository. Either way, it is best to seek medical assistance before the situation could get any worse.
A person can still counter the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection with natural remedies. Here are some of the more popular ones.
1. Coconut oil
Numerous research has consistently shown that coconut oil is potent enough to counter the overgrowth of Candida. This is the type of yeast which, when left unchecked in the right environment, will multiply in excess and cause the yeast infection. Coconut oil is known to be particularly effective against the albicans strain of Candida. The best kind of coconut oil to use the pure and organic type. All the patient has to do is to directly apply it on the affected area. If the area is located farther in the vagina, you can apply the oil on a suppository or a tampon before inserting it.
Probiotics keep Candida from over-multiplication because it promotes the growth of Lactobacillus. These are healthy bacteria that keep the balance between bacteria and yeast present in your vagina. By promoting the multiplication of Lactobacillus, it effectively becomes the counterbalance of yeast overgrowth. The best sources of probiotics are plain Greek yogurt, probiotic drinks like Kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and buttermilk. Make sure all of these come sugar-free because sugar fuels the growth of yeast.
3. Essential oils
There are also essential oils that inhibit the growth of Candida in the vagina. Oregano, for example, packs two potent natural antifungal components. These are thymol and carvacrol. For oregano, a patient must just inhale it. One should not take it orally. Do not apply on affected area either. If you want an essential oil that you can apply directly on the affected area or on a suppository or tampon, you should go for tea tree oil. It also has antifungal and antiviral properties likes the oregano. This oil is not for ingesting either. Do not attempt to take it orally.
Adding more garlic to your diet has been proven to help keep Candida overgrowth at bay. It is not advised, however, to rub it on the affected area. Some women who have tried this have reported painful effects such as tears and cuts.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Many people have sworn by the benefits of using apple cider vinegar in a variety of ailments. It would seem that vaginal yeast infection is included in its malady portfolio as well. This time, patients are advised to give their vagina a fifteen to twenty-minute apple cider vinegar bath. The acidity is said to be a potent killer of both bacteria and fungi.
6. Vitamin C
One way of how to deal with a vaginal yeast infection is to boost your immune system. Since Vitamin C is known to be effective at this, loading up with Vitamin C is a good way to go. Again, do not attempt to apply it to the affected area even when diluted in water. This is meant to be ingested and not treated as a cream or ointment.
Any woman should not be in panic mode if she knows how to deal with the vaginal yeast infection. With these simple treatments, one can get better in no time. However, medical assistance should not be ruled out especially if symptoms continue to persist.