Vaginal yeast infection is a common fungal infection of the genitals. It causes inflammation, irritation, itching, and vaginal discharge. It most commonly affects women who are sexually active.
Vaginal yeast infections, also called vaginal Candidiasis or vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC), are experienced by as many as 3 out of 4 women during their lifetime. Most women experience at least two infections. How to know if you have it, learn what causes is and how to treat it.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain during sex
- Pain or soreness in the vagina or the vaginal opening
- Vaginal burning with intercourse or urination
- A thick, white, odorless discharge that resembles cheese, or a watery discharge
- Pain or burning when you pee
- Itching, burning, or irritation of the vagina or vulva, which is the tissue surrounding the vagina
What Causes it?
- Hormones: Changes during pregnancy, breast-feeding or menopause (or if you’re taking birth control pills) can change the balance in your vagina.
- Diabetes: If your diabetes is not well-controlled, the increase in sugar in the mucus membranes (moist linings) of your vagina can create a place for yeast to grow.
- Antibiotics: These drugs can kill off many of the bacteria that live in your vagina.
- Douches and vaginal sprays: The use of these products can change the balance in your vagina.
- A weakened immune system: If you are HIV-positive or have another immune system disorder, the yeast may also grow uncontrolled.
- Sex: Though a yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, it can be passed from person to person through sexual contact.
How can you treat it?
If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor before treating yourself. The symptoms of yeast infections are similar to other, more serious conditions, including sexually transmitted infections and Bacterial Vaginosis (bacterial overgrowth in the vagina). An accurate diagnosis is important so you can get the best treatment. If you don’t have a yeast infection and use anti-fungal medication, it can make future yeast infections more difficult to treat.
However, one popular yeast infection remedy is an apple cider vinegar bath. Vinegar has many medicinal uses, some more proven by research than others. When you add a half cup of apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bathtub and soak for 20 minutes, the acidic component of the vinegar is supposed to eliminate any harmful microorganisms.