Yeast infections are mostly caused by a type of fungus known as Candida albicans. Fungal infections can also be caused by fungi other than Candida albicans, but treatments are mostly targeted against it. Due to its causative agent, yeast infection is also known as vaginal candidiasis. Symptoms of yeast infection include severe itching, discharge, and irritation of the vaginal area . The symptoms can vary in their severity, from mild to extreme. These include irritation of the vagina, burning sensation while urinating, pain in the affected area and thick white discharge. These symptoms can be complicated further if you suffer from chronic infection.
Normal growth of yeast and bacteria is commonly present in the vagina, and some bacteria can even keep the growth of yeast in check. However, this balance is sometimes disrupted, and an overgrowth of yeast occurs, leading to infections . An imbalance in fungus growth can be due to various reasons, including pregnancy, diabetes, antibiotic use, taking birth control or hormone pills and a weak immune system. Candida albicans causes most yeast infections and are relatively easy to treat compared to other types of yeast infections that require aggressive treatments.
These infections are more common in women than you think. 75% of women will suffer from a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime, while 8% may have up to four incidents per year. If yeast infections occur again and again, then these are called recurrent or chronic yeast infections .
The first thing in preventing yeast infection is taking care of yourself- this includes avoiding stress, getting enough rest, and eating a healthy diet. If you suffer from diabetes, then keep your sugar levels in check. If your blood sugar level is high, then it will make it more difficult to treat the infection. Using antibiotics can also disturb the balance and growth of normal fauna of the vagina, which will lead to yeast infection. Yeast normally grows in warm, moist and damp environments, so feminine hygiene can reduce the risk of yeast infection . Following feminine hygiene practices can reduce the occurrence of yeast infection:
If someone is experiencing a yeast infection, they need to take their prescribed anti-biotics. While this might sound simple enough, the reality is that it isn’t. Nearly one-in-four individuals have trouble swallowing medicinal pills. This is a biological condition that has been termed by medical experts as ‘Dysphagia’. A simple way forward for such individuals is to use a swallowing gel whenever they are taking pills. This helps them easily swallow and not be dependent on other agents like food, soft drinks or juices.
Staying dry and clean:
Avoid using soap for cleaning your vagina. Wash with water only, and then completely dry the area with a towel. If you want to use soap, make sure you are using a mild one without any fragrance. Change clothes immediately after swimming and after exercising. Wear loose panties and underwear and let the air flow freely. Avoid using feminine hygiene products like sprays, powders, etc.
Care during menstruation:
Take extra care of yourself during menstruation. Keep the area clean and dry, avoid using scented pads and tampons, avoid using tampons if you are prone to suffering from yeast infections and change them as frequently as possible.
Bathe regularly, do not stay in hot tubs for too long, and if you are using bath salts, then wash thoroughly. Do not use extra hot water for bathing .
How to boost confidence?
Even today, vaginal infections are considered a taboo subject and are underexplored despite the fact that many women suffer from them on a daily basis. Despite the negative effects on the mental and physical health of the patient, most people do not talk about it. Suffering from a yeast infection can badly affect your confidence, and you may feel like there is something wrong with you. Women who suffer from such infections feel ashamed and embarrassed, and they do not want to go out, which eventually will impact their social and professional lives.
Acceptance is the first step towards dealing with vaginal infections. Sometimes women do not accept that they have a health problem that needs proper treatment and medication. Due to this denial, their symptoms become more severe, and their confidence further deteriorates. They feel like if they tell other people about their condition, then people will think that they are unhygienic and dirty. Due to this misconception, women normally suffer more physically as well as mentally. Not being able to talk to someone about your health can really affect your confidence and make you depressed. So, the first thing you can do is accept that there is nothing wrong with you and that it’s not your fault that you have a yeast infection.
Talk with other yeast infection sufferers:
Quite often, women do not realize that they are not alone in their suffering. Three out of four women will suffer from one type of yeast infection during their lifetime. Plus-sized people are more vulnerable to yeast infections because they sweat more and produce more body heat which accumulates in skin folds and leads to the growth of fungus . It does not mean that they are less hygienic than other people. Most of the stigma around yeast infections comes from feeling ashamed or embarrassed. But once you overcome this embarrassment and talk with other women suffering from chronic yeast infections, you realize that you can learn a lot from other people’s struggles. Once we heal from our shame, then it becomes easy to heal from the actual problem. Sometimes things are not as big as we make them.
Talk with your doctor:
Yeast infections can go away on their own after some time, but if the symptoms persist, talk with your doctor. He/she can prescribe you anti-fungal creams. Use them regularly for the recommended period of time. Sometimes it can take weeks to work, but persistence is the key. A proper examination can help the doctor rule out any other serious medical illnesses like cervical infection, STDs, etc. Again, if your symptoms are persistent and severe, do not hesitate to see a doctor .
Stigma and misconceptions around a disease prevent people from asking for help. The first step in dealing with any yeast infection is to avoid feeling ashamed. If you are taking proper care of yourself, then it is not your fault, and it’s natural that sometimes we get sick. It does not mean that we should be treated any differently than healthy people. So do not isolate yourself simply because you suffer from a yeast infection which is common among women.
About the author: Dan Jackowiak, Nc, HHP, is the Founder of Yeast Infection Advisor. Dan is a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner and Nutritional Consultant that personally suffered from yeast and bad bacterial overgrowth of the gut for most of his life. The information on his website is a combination of his own nutrition and holistic training, life experiences, collaboration with fellow experts on his team, and over 18 years of studying medical research on candida yeasts infections of all types, which has allowed him to take his life and health back and help others overcome yeast-related health problems and digestive problems of all kinds.