I’ve seen many women over the years who complain of itching, thrush and discharge. Many are uncertain when it comes to understanding exactly what it is they have, and for those women they will find this a useful post. Vaginal thrush infections are caused by yeast infections, Candida vaginal yeast infections are the most common cause of vaginitis and are a cause of huge irritation and inconvenience for many women. Symptoms are itching in the groin area and in and around the vagina especially. Increased discharge is not necessarily present in this condition.
Remember, you are most likely at risk of developing candida fungal vaginal infections (thrush) increases if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Are pregnant.
- Habitually use an antibiotic.
- Take the oral contraceptive pill.
- Have a defective immune system.
These are some of the most likely causes, and they may lead you straight into a diagnosis of a vaginal yeast infection. A vaginal yeast infection is almost always caused by a change in the vagina’s acid balance, which leads to an increase in yeast and an over growth. Yeast infections are often seen after a person takes antibiotics. Sometimes however, there may not be an obvious reason as to why a woman has developed a thrush infection. Diagnosis is straightforward however and can be confirmed by taking a swab from the vagina. Conventional treatment is either with pessaries (tablets in the vagina) or tablets by mouth. However could it be vaginal yeast infection or perhaps is it another thing? In just a moment we will look at a chart I put together which outlines the different kinds of vaginal problems you are most likely to experience, and their typical signs and symptoms.
Suppressive Treatments Don’t Cure Vaginal Yeast Infections
Your doctor may prescribe topical therapies, and the first application may cause burning as you place a cream or vaginal suppository into your vagina. This mode of treatment is very effective and using these conventional methods cures seventy to ninety percent of thrush. But is it really cured, or has this form of treatment just suppressed the yeast because the cause was never addressed?
My belief is that this form of treatment is very suppressive indeed, i.e.; the condition is driven back into the body and because the causes remain untreated and thrush may recur at anytime. I tend to find that many women with endometriosis (and many other chronic “women’s problems”) can relate to having treated their vaginal yeast infection many years ago just like this, with local vaginal treatment and antibiotics, and believe they have “cured” it, only to discover in time that they are diagnosed with endometriosis or some other chronic women’s problem.
The Whole Person Needs Treatment And Not Just Their Vagina
I’ve found from experience that an imbalance in the vaginal micro flora is most always indicative of a similar imbalance in a woman’s digestive tract and further afield. Therefore, when a patient presents to my clinic with a recurrent vaginal yeast infection I always recommend that she follow the entire Candida Crusher Program. If the vaginal is acute and not a recurrent problem however, an isolated instance can effectively be treated locally as I describe below without having to resort to systemic (diet and lifestyle) treatment. But if the problem resurfaces or is chronic, then the Candida Crusher Program is best followed for a complete resolution thrush of the thrush.
But What If It Is Not Vaginal Thrush, What Then?
Here are five other presentations besides vaginal thrush, and it is important that you know what you are dealing with before you commence treatment. As usual, it is always best to seek the help of your doctor when it comes to diagnosis, once a firm diagnosis is made and you know what you are dealing with you will be able to know how to treat it.
1 – Trichomoniasis
Sometimes called “trich”, trichomoniasis is different from the other complaints in that a small organism called a flagellate causes it. It is common to experience an abundant greenish-yellow discharge, an itching which can range from mild to extremely intense and even a strong burning sensation or pain in the vagina. Diagnosis is performed by analyzing a swab of the discharge. Treatment is generally a short course of (strong) antibiotics, after which I recommend to take a powerful probiotic product for four to six weeks thereafter.
2 – Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
This condition is known as gardnerella vaginalis, and is caused by the growth of bacteria that causes the acidity of the vagina to become much more alkaline. Contributing factors are poor hygiene, poor health in general, birth-control IUD use, and in particular the transferring of E.coli bacteria from the rectal area to the vagina due to poor hygiene or sex.
The abundant alkalinity with this condition causes a fishy or brine-like smell and a grey foamy discharge. Diagnosis is carried out once again by analyzing a swab from the discharge, and the treatment is once again a short course of antibiotics.
Bacterial vaginosis is one of three common types of vaginitis (BV, vaginal yeast infection and trichomoniasis), and possibly the most common vaginal infection. Maybe you thought that vaginal yeast infections are the most common vaginal infection, well they are not, because BV is in fact the most common. A link between BV and low levels of vitamin D was discovered in June 2009 and reported by The Journal of Nutrition in The New York Times. My advice is to have a blood test for vitamin D and see what your levels are, you may be quite surprised to know that most of the population are borderline to low in the crucial immune boosting fat-soluble vitamin. Ensure good hygiene with sex, because many cases come from not enough care taken during sex.
3 – Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is an STD (sexually transmitted disease) that is caused by the gonococcus bacteria. You can have gonorrhea without experiencing any symptoms, but some people experience burning pain when urinating. However, gonorrhea is rarely seen these days. Diagnosis is confirmed by analyzing a swab from the cervix, urethra (entrance to the bladder) or back passage. Treatment is with very powerful antibiotics. Sexual partners also need to be traced, screened for gonorrhea and in addition diagnosed accordingly.
4 – Chlamydia
Chlamydia is likewise a sexually transmitted disease and is an unusual cause of vaginitis, because infection often does not produce symptoms unless pelvic inflammatory disease is present. Diagnosis is made by analyzing a sample taken from the cervix or the urethra. Treatment is with antibiotics. Sexual partners should be traced, tested and treated.
5 – Genital Herpes
Genital herpes (Herpes type 2) is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is almost in all cases a sexually transmitted disease. It is possible to infect the genital area with the virus via contact with a cold sore (herpes type 1, part of the same family). Herpes is seen at the entrance to the vagina as small blisters. The first time a person has herpes, it is common for them to develop a fever, and night sweats may occur, swollen lymph nodes in the groin on the affected side, general discomfort is experienced, urination is painful, and the lips and entrance to the vagina may become swollen and red.
Eventually the herpes infection settles down, and the person experiences flare-ups ranging from very occasionally to very rarely. The skin in the affected area will become more sensitive and signal an imminent case of herpes.
A tingling sensation can be felt and then the blisters may appear which can itch intensely, and may even create a burning sensation if ruptured. It is in the herpes sufferer’s best interests to discover how to improve their health to the point where they rarely experience these flare-ups. In conventional medicine, a diagnosis is made by a doctor based on the appearance and with special swabs sent for analysis. Antiviral treatment is often recommended, but you will find in this case that natural medicine has a lot to offer this patient. In case you have herpes virus, particularly if it’s acute, I personally recommend a course of natural medication solution for at a minimum six to twelve months, simply because, doctors view herpes infections as “incurable” disease requiring a lifetime of drugs in order to suppress the symptoms.