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Most women are quite attuned to their bodies. They know when their period is coming; they know when they’re about to get sick. Some women even know as soon as they get pregnant. This intuition is common, so it’s also common for women to know when something is just not right when it comes to their private parts. There are a few tell-tale signs of a vaginal yeast infection, but when you’ve never experienced one, it can be difficult to tell. In order to figure out whether you do have a yeast infection or not, you’ll need to learn a little bit more information about this infection.
What is a yeast infection?
In its simplest terms, a yeast infection is basically the excessive growth of yeast in the vagina. Vaginal yeast infection is also called candida vulvovaginitis or vaginal thrush, and its development causes a physical irritation for most women. It’s not necessarily transmitted sexually; although, it’s more likely to happen to those who are sexually active. Apart from having frequent sexual intercourse, there are other factors that might play a role in the development of vaginal yeast infections. It seems as if diets that are high in sugar can be a cause of an infection. Contrary to popular beliefs, personal hygiene is not a factor in the development of a yeast infection nor could you treat a yeast infection by washing more frequently. Also contrary to what some people may think, the type of clothing you wear or the materials of your clothing has nothing to do with the development of a yeast infection either.
History and epidemiology
Many women get vaginal infections every year, as there are a few different types of infections that can be contracted. That’s at least about 20% of women. A larger number of women at 75% will get at least one type of infection in their lifetime. This infection could either be a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. The total number or percentages of vaginal yeast infections has not been determined clearly because the infection is not something that needs confirmation of laboratory results in order to be diagnosed. Most cases of vaginal yeast infections are determined clinically by a healthcare professional such as a general practitioner or your obstetrician/gynecologist. Vaginal yeast infections are something that women have been dealing with throughout history, and information back then is relatively the same as the information nowadays.
It may seem as if it’s fairly easy to self-diagnose a vaginal yeast infection due to the fact that the symptoms are very clear. However, in order to get the proper diagnosis and treatment, it’s still best for you to go through a professional to get their professional opinion. What you’ll essentially find out is whether or not you actually have an excess amount of yeast in your vagina. This can be tested in one of three ways: vaginal wet mount microscopy, a simple microbial culture, or an antigen test.
Vaginal wet mount microscopy is a gynecologic test that involves the testing of vaginal discharge. The process of wet mount microscopy involves the placement of the discharge on a slide and mixing it with a salt solution. From there, a laboratory professional should be able to determine whether the cause of symptoms is actually a yeast infection. Next, a microbial culture will allow the observable growth of a microbial organism from a small sample of vaginal discharge. This is done in a laboratory setting. Lastly, an antigen test is basically another diagnostic tool, which uses enzymes to test which particular substances are available in a specimen.
All of these tools should help you and your health care provider determine whether you actually have a vaginal yeast infection or not. The results of any of these tests should tell you whether or not you have a complicated thrush or uncomplicated thrush. Complicated thrush is described by a recurring infection or one that’s complicated by other situations such as pregnancy or diabetes. On the other hand, uncomplicated thrush is when there are less than four episodes of infection each year. With uncomplicated thrush, the symptoms are less likely to be severe.
The symptoms of vaginal yeast infections could differ depending on the person experiencing them. If there are no other complications, it could be very simple. You should have a decent idea on a regular day whether something is wrong with your vagina or not. The most common symptom of a yeast infection is incessant itching. This is not just the type of itch that will go away after scratch or two. This is the type of itching that doesn’t go away no matter what you do. You can wash your vagina repeatedly and the itching will not go away. You’ll probably notice swelling around the vagina or the development of a rash as well. This can prove to be uncomfortable as many experience soreness along with the rash and swelling. Since your vagina is always in contact with your underwear, it can prove to be very uncomfortable and sometimes even slightly painful.
Once you start experiencing pain while urinating, you should definitely know that something is wrong. Most women express a burning sensation during urination when going through a vaginal yeast infection. In addition, this type of burning sensation and pain can translate through during intercourse as well. You’ll feel a different type of pain when going through a yeast infection; it’ll definitely not be pleasurable at all. For the most severe cases, you can simply imagine this set of symptoms at its absolute worst magnitude. Most people who experience a severe case of a vaginal yeast infection will multiply these symptoms to an amount that makes them completely unbearable.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for those who are suffering from a vaginal yeast infection. Depending on what your health care provider recommends for you, you could either get an intravaginal agent, an oral medication, a topical medication, or even a suppository. Intravaginal agents are medications that are inserted directly into the vagina. Some examples of these medications include butoconazole, clotrimazole, and nystatin.
Intravaginal treatment usually takes about a week to complete, and its effectiveness depends entirely on how the infection responds to the medication. By the 7th day of treatment, most symptoms should’ve disappeared.
Oral medication includes a single dose of fluconazole, which is a simple antifungal medication. This is the simplest way to resolve a yeast infection, and for worst cases, your health care provider might prescribe a 3-day course of oral medication.
Topical creams and suppositories are designed for uncomplicated thrush. Treatment usually lasts between 1 to 3 days depending on the severity of the vaginal yeast infection. This is also effective as much as 90% of the time, and its effectiveness is also dependent on how well the infection responds to the medication. For severe cases, health care providers might combine topical medications with oral medications if necessary. There are also medications out there that help relieve symptoms of itching or burning but otherwise will not attack the infection itself. These are just for comfort purposes, but otherwise, anyone who is suffering from a vaginal yeast infection should seek professional help in order to get rid of the infection altogether.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, chances are you do have a vaginal yeast infection. Visit your doctor to get a diagnosis, so you could get treated right away. You don’t have to prolong your discomfort or pain. It’s easy to get rid of a yeast infection as long as you act right away.