Pallavi (26-years-old) works in a private company in Pune. Over the past few days, Pallavi is facing some vaginal irritations, itching, and discharge. Initially, she overlooked it and the symptoms also dissolved within a few days. After some days, she again experienced those symptoms and this time, the situation was even worse. So, she discussed it with her colleague and she advised her to opt for a vaginal yeast infection treatment after discussing it with a doctor. Pallavi then consulted a gynecologist who gave her medicine for yeast infection to diminish her recurrent vaginal infection.
Vaginal yeast infection is very common among females and 3 out of 4 women experienced this infection.
Causes of Bacterial Yeast Infection
Chronic yeast infections occur when your body has become favorable for yeast overgrowth. An overgrowth of Candida is responsible for most cases of yeast infections. If there is an imbalance of vaginal bacteria, then you may experience a yeast infection. These bacteria keep candida from thriving. If there are too many infections, then the bacteria should be removed through antibiotics or douching.
Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Symptoms could be mild to moderate, based on an individual’s condition:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
- A burning sensation after intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and inflammation of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge
- Watery vaginal discharge
Reasons Yeast Infections Return
Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons for chronic yeast infections:
1. The Initial Yeast Infection Wasn’t Treated Properly
If you had an earlier yeast infection and it didn’t respond to the first line of treatment, you may need prescribed long-term antifungals. You need to take weekly oral or vaginal medications for up to six months.
2. Transmitting the Infection Back and Forth
Candida infections may happen in other areas like skin or the mouth. They can spread via skin-to-skin contact. This is common for mothers and babies when they are breastfeeding.
The key way to prevent recurring transmissions is you need to ensure that both moms and babies are cured of yeast infections. Sometimes, you may need to pump your breast milk and bottle-feed while the infections clear up.
3. Sexual Activity
Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are another reason for recurring vaginal yeast infections between sexual partners. Always wear condoms and dental dams if you or your partner has recurring yeast infections. Take a shower after intercourse to keep candida away.
4. Humidity and Moisture
Yeasts flourish in wet and humid conditions. If you wear damp clothes or are constantly sweating, then this may support the growth of yeast or fungi. Always use breathable fabrics and cotton underwear.
5. Drug-Resistant Strains of Yeast
Some species of yeast may resist common medications and often cause chronic yeast infection. If your infection is not going with normal treatments, then your doctor will advise a different antifungal medication and a multifaceted approach. You may need to change your lifestyle or take supplements.
It’s Not a Yeast Infection
Some conditions have similar symptoms like a yeast infection, such as:
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Skin Allergies
Always consult a doctor for a first-time yeast infection or for a yeast infection that returns. Sometimes, a doctor will take a culture of your yeast infection and will analyze the underlying causes and treatments to prescribe you the right medication for yeast infection.
Depending on the severity and frequency of your infections, the treatment method depends.
Medications for Yeast Infection
1. Short-Course Vaginal Therapy: Your doctor may recommend antifungal medications for 3-7 days to overcome a yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infection antifungal medicines are available as creams, ointments, tablets, and suppositories. Common antifungal medications are miconazole (Monistat 3) and terconazole.
2. Single-Dose Oral Medication: Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a one-time, single oral dose of fluconazole (Diflucan). This medication is not suitable for pregnant women. To overcome more-severe symptoms, you may need to take two single doses three days apart.
Consult the doctor if your symptoms were not removed or return again within two months. If you have recurring yeast infections, your doctor might recommend:
- Long-Course Vaginal Therapy: Your doctor may recommend an antifungal medication that you need to take daily for up to two weeks, followed by once a week for six months.
- Multi-Dose Oral Medication: Your doctor may suggest you take two or three doses of an antifungal medication (orally) instead of vaginal therapy. But it is not suitable for pregnant women.
- Azole Resistant Therapy: Your doctor may suggest a boric acid capsule that you need to insert into your vagina. This is fatal if you take it orally. This specifically treats candida fungus that is resistant to the usual antifungal agents.
How to Manage Chronic Yeast Infections
If you have a yeast infection, you should start your treatments immediately to overcome the symptoms and discomfort. Once your doctor confirms the analysis, you should follow the necessary steps to manage the infection. Here we are mentioning certain tips on how to manage a recurring vaginal yeast infection.
- Take the complete course of the medication, even if symptoms go away before the medicine. Never stop taking medications in the middle of the course.
- If you are sexually active, ask your partner to get tested for candida. This will prevent the spread of the infection
- Change and launder your clothing and fabrics, like towels and sheets daily.
- Use bleach or distilled white vinegar whenever washing
- To prevent spreading or re-infection, wash items that come into contact with infected areas directly
The Bottom Line
Vaginal yeast infection is curable if you follow the medications properly as instructed by the doctor. Severe or recurrent infections may take a little more time to cure. If your symptoms are getting worse or coming back, consult a doctor without wasting time.