Female Yeast Infection
A female yeast infection can be expected by seventy-five percent of women at some point in their lifetime. In most cases, yeast infections would just disappear if left to run their course. However, the discomfort may be too great to ignore. By knowing the symptoms and options for treatment, the irritation can be relieved either at home or by visiting the doctor.
But, what causes women’s yeast infections? Basically, it is the unrestrained multiplying of yeast. While yeast is normally found in limited quantities in the genitals and vagina, yeast can be encouraged to grow by reduction in the amount of lactobacillus due to antibiotic use. It can also multiply rapidly when the pH changes due to medications like steroid-based hormones, immunosuppressant drugs, sexual activity, or injury.
A woman may first become aware of her problem when the area becomes extremely itchy. She may also experience burning or notice redness, puffiness or irritation in the area. Though it is not as common as many people think, occurring in only 20% of cases, there may also be a white or gray discharge that is a curdy cottage-cheese consistency.
There are several home-treatment methods that may work during the early stages. Yogurt may be used in different forms. One option is a douche made of plain water and yogurt. Another is to insert the yogurt directly. A quick and effective method is to paint the vagina and vulva with gentian violet though this is complicated since it requires a speculum. Try inserting a tampon soaked in potassium sorbate. Drinking a water infusion of olive leaf and grapefruit seed extract has been suggested. Twice daily glasses of buttermilk are also recommended.
If a commercial solution is preferred there are both chemical and natural options available. A pharmacist will have over-the-counter creams, pills and tablets that work to balance the area’s pH to neutral. Lemon grass or diluted tea tree oil are examples of antifungal herbs to use if natural products are preferred.
A woman should definitely visit the doctor if she has diabetes, a compromised immune system, or symptoms that include a fever or pain in the pelvic area along with the infection. She should also visit the doctor if the infection arises during pregnancy to avoid any complications. The doctor will do a visual exam and possibly take fluid from the area.
Once yeast growth has been regulated a woman can focus on preventing future episodes. She should avoid pants that are too tight and products with perfume like some toilet paper and soaps. She can add cranberry juice, yogurt and garlic to her diet. She may also wish to avoid bread products or refined sugar. She may try swabbing her genital area with apple cider vinegar at regular intervals to limit yeast growth.
Though easily treated and not life threatening, a female yeast infection is an uncomfortable annoyance. To limit its effect and make good decisions about seeking treatment, women should be aware of their bodies and know the symptoms so they can recognize the onset of a yeast infection quickly.