Yeast Infections

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Yeast Infections Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

Pathology (What is a Yeast Infection?)

A vaginal yeast infection is a type of vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina.

Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the fungus candida.

Candida is a microorganism that is normally present in the vagina, along with other normally present bacteria.

The vagina naturally contains a balanced mix of yeast and bacteria.

Lactobacillus bacteria, normally present in the vagina, produce acid that prevents the overgrowth of yeast.

Disruption in the healthy balance of yeast and bacteria in the vaginal area can result in overgrowth of yeast.

Immune cells that respond to candida antigens may increase the production of cytokines that then activate lymphocytes and neutrophils, leading to inflammation and edema (tissue swelling) of the vagina.

A vaginal yeast infection may also be called vaginal candidiasis, candidal vulvovaginitis, or vaginal thrush.

Vulvovaginal inflammation includes redness of the vagina and vulva and swelling as a result of the build- up of fluid in the vaginal tissues.

Vaginal yeast infections can also be caused by Candida glabrata, Candida krusei, Candida parapsilosis, and Candida tropicalis.

The risk of developing thrush is also increased in women with weak immune systems.

Conditions that can lead to weak immune systems include HIV/AIDS and receiving chemotherapy.

Yeast Infection Causes

Antibiotics decrease the amount of lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina, changing the pH (acid balance), allowing yeast to overgrow.

Douching or irritation from inadequate vaginal lubrication can change the environment in the vagina, allowing yeast to overgrow.

Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of a specific type of candida fungus, called Candida albicans.

Vaginal yeast infections are sometimes caused by other types of candida fungus.

A yeast infection isn't considered a sexually transmitted infection because women who are not sexually active can get yeast infections.

Because the candida fungus is naturally present in the vagina, women who are not sexually active can get yeast infections.

Yeast infections are common in women who take antibiotics.

Broad-spectrum antibiotics, antibiotics that are effective against a wide range of bacteria--kill healthy bacteria in the vagina, leading to an overgrowth of yeast.

Yeast infections occur more frequently in women with increased estrogen levels.

During pregnancy, the Candida fungus is more prevalent (common), and recurrent infection is also more likely.

Yeast Infection Symptoms

A vaginal yeast infection can have symptoms that range from mild to moderate in severity.

A yeast infection may cause pain and soreness in the vaginal area.

The vaginal discharge associated with a yeast infection can be thin and watery or thick and white, resembling cottage cheese.

A severe yeast infection can lead to extensive redness, swelling and itching accompanied by tears, cracks or sores in vaginal tissue.

Some women have recurrent yeast infections--4 or more in a single year.

Jock itch in a male sexual partner can be a sign of a genital yeast infection.

Yeast Infection Diagnosis

To diagnose a yeast infection, your doctor may ask questions about your medical history, such as gathering information about past vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections.

If you have a yeast infection, your doctor will examine your external genitals for signs of infection, such as redness or swelling.

A doctor who suspects a yeast infection will usually perform a pelvic exam to look closely at the vagina and cervix for signs of inflammation, such as redness, swelling or discharge.

If you have a yeast infection your doctor may collect a sample of vaginal discharge to examine under a microscope or send off to be cultured.

For simple, occasional yeast infections your doctor may be able to make the diagnosis based on your history and physical exam, without a need for lab tests.

If a woman has recurring yeast infections, the doctor may want to test the discharge to find out exactly which type of yeast is causing the infection.

A diagnosis of uncomplicated vaginal infection is made if a woman has fewer than 4 episodes in a year.

Vaginal infections are also described as uncomplicated if symptoms are mild or moderate and are caused by the Candida albicans fungus.

A diagnosis of complicated vaginal yeast infection is made if a woman has 4 or more episodes in a year, or when a woman has severe symptoms of vulvovaginal inflammation.

Vaginal yeast infection is also considered complicated if the woman has another condition, such as pregnancy, diabetes, or an immune deficiency.

A vaginal yeast infection is considered a complicated infection if the offending fungus is not Candida albicans.

The presence of yeast is typically diagnosed in one of three ways: vaginal wet mount microscopy, microbial culture, and antigen tests.[6]

A vaginal wet mount, also called a virginal smear, is a gynecologic test that takes a sample of vaginal discharge to observe under the microscope to see if there is evidence of an infection.

A doctor can make a firm diagnosis of a yeast infection if there are yeast buds present when the vaginal discharge is viewed under a microscope.

Yeast buds are visible only 50% of the time in women who have yeast infections, so the absence of visible yeast buds does not rule out the diagnosis of a candidal infection.

Yeast Infection Treatment

Vaginal yeast infections that are caused by candida fungus that are not Candida albicans sometimes do not respond well to more conventional therapies and may require more aggressive treatment.

A one-to-three day regimen of an antifungal cream, ointment, table or suppository may effectively clear a yeast infection in most cases.

Preparations of azoles that are effective against yeast infections include butoconazole, clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat 3) and terconazole (Terazol 3).

Side effects of medications used to treat yeast infections may include a slight burning or irritation during application.

Some doctors may prescribe a one-time dose of an oral antibiotic, such as the antifungal medication (fluconazole) to treat a yeast infection.

A doctor may prescribe different types of treatment if a woman has 4 or more episodes of yeast infections a year.

The medication of choice for yeast infections come from a class of drugs called the azoles.

For women with recurrent yeast infections, a doctor may prescribe 2 or 3 doses of oral antifungal medication, such as fluconazol.

Multiple doses of oral antifungal treatment are not recommended for pregnant women who have recurrent yeast infections.

Treatment for a vaginal yeast infection is considered ineffective (failed) if the symptoms do not clear within 7-14 days.

The simplest and most cost-effective way to treat an occasional yeast infection consists of self-diagnosis (women recognizing the signs and symptoms of the infection) and early initiation of topical therapy.

If a woman has a recurrence of a yeast infection within 2 months of the original infection should consult a doctor.

Unnecessary or inappropriate use of over the counter preparations for yeast infections can lead to a delay in treating vulvovaginitis that is caused by something other than candida albicans.

Yeast Infection Prevention

Doctors may recommend a maintenance plan, or medication routine, to prevent yeast overgrowth in women who are prone to recurrent infections.

Maintenance therapy to prevent yeast infections starts after the initial treatment clears the most recent yeast infection.

Maintenance therapy to prevent yeast infections may include fluconazole tablets taken by mouth once a week for six months.

Some doctors may prescribe clotrimazole as a vaginal tablet (suppository) used once a week instead of an oral medication, for maintenance therapy in women predisposed to recurrent infections.

If you have recurrent yeast infections, your doctor may recommend treating your partner, if the partner also has signs of yeast infection.

Using condoms during intercourse may prevent yeast infections from being transmitted from one sexual partner to another.

Women should avoid douching, to maintain the normal pH balance in the vagina, which will make them less susceptible to yeast infections.

Wearing cotton underwear, loose fitting pants and skirts, underwear or pantyhose, help keep the vaginal area ventilated which could help prevent yeast overgrowth.

Changing out of wet clothes, such as swimsuits or workout attire, as soon as possible, may help reduce the chances of yeast infection because prolonged dampness can encourage yeast overgrowth.

Avoiding hot tubs or very hot baths may help prevent a yeast infection, because these settings may create an environment conducive to yeast overgrowth.

Yeast Infection Statistics & Facts

As may as 3 out of 4 women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lifetimes.

Many women experience 2 or more yeast infections in their lifetime.

Approximately 5% of women will have recurring episodes of east infection.

Vaginal yeast infection is the second most cause of vaginal inflammation after bacterial vaginosis.

Vaginal yeast infection occurs in about 30% of women who are taking a course of oral antibiotics.

Treatment with the standard topical antifungal medications (azoles) results in relief of symptoms and negative yeast cultures in 80 to 90% of women who complete the recommended therapy.

About 20% of women get a yeast infection yearly.

Vaginal yeast infections are one of the 3 most common vaginal infections, along with bacterial vaginosis and trichomonas.

About 10-15% of recurrent candidal vulvovaginitis cases are due to non-Candida albicans species.

Non-albicans species tend to have higher levels of resistance to fluconazole.

There is not enough evidence to determine if probiotics (either as pills or as yogurt) have an effect on the rate of occurrence of vaginal yeast infections.

Special cleansing diets and colonic hydrotherapy have been proposed as solutions for the chronic gut colonization of candida, but no scientific evidence for this methods is available at this time.

Infections often occur without sex and cannot be related to frequency of intercourse.

There is no clear evidence that treatment of asymptomatic candidal vulvovaginitis in pregnancy reduces the risk of preterm birth.

Yeast Infections Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

Pathology (What is a Yeast Infection?)

A yeast infection, also called Candidal vulvovaginitis or vaginal thrush, is an infection of the vagina’s mucous membranes that is usually caused by Candida albicans.

A vaginal yeast infection affects the vagina and the tissues at the opening of the vagina, called the vulva.

When a woman has a weakened immune system, it affects the body's ability to fight off infection, so they may not be able to control the spread of unable to effectively control the spread of the Candida fungus.

The inflammation and edema (swelling of the vaginal tissues) may be caused by a woman's immune cells responding to Candida antigens (proteins on the surface of the yeast cells that react with the immune system).

Women with recurrent yeast infections may have a hypersensitivity to the candida fungus that causes an overreaction by their immune system.

Yeast Infection Causes

Too much yeast in the vagina can lead to vaginal itching, burning, and other classic signs and symptoms of a yeast infection.

Using antibiotics can cause an overgrowth of yeast and lead to a vaginal yeast infection.

The hormonal changes of pregnancy can also create an environment that allows overgrowth of vaginal yeast.

Uncontrolled diabetes can create an environment that allows overgrowth of vaginal yeast.

Anything that changes the type and amount of bacteria that are normally present in the vagina can lead to a yeast infection.

A yeast infection can be sexually transmitted, especially through oral-genital sexual contact.

Women who take high-estrogen birth control pills or post-menopausal estrogen hormone therapy are more at a higher risk of yeast infections.

Yeast Infection Symptoms

The most characteristic symptom of a yeast infection is itching and irritation in the vagina and the vulva.

Women with yeast infections may experience a burning sensation in the vaginal area during intercourse or urination.

Yeast infections often cause redness and swelling of the vulva, the tissues just outside the vagina.

Women with yeast infections may notice a thick, white, odorless discharge.

Yeast Infection Treatment

Medications to treat yeast infections are available by prescription or over-the-counter.

For moderate or infrequent episodes of yeast infection, a one-time application of an antifungal cream, ointment, tablet or suppository can effectively clear the infection.

Vaginal treatment for recurrent yeast infections might include an azole medication in the form of a vaginal cream, ointment, tablet or suppository, taken or applied every day for 7 to 14 days.

Any woman whose symptoms persist after using an over the counter preparation for the recommended amount of time should be evaluated by a doctor.

pub 48 Diagnosing and Treating

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