What is Vaginal Yeast Infection and is it the Same as Vaginal Thrush?
What Are The Causes of Vaginal Yeast Infection?
What are the Symptoms of Vaginal Thrush That I Should Look For?
What Can I Do To Reduce the Itching?
How Do You Treat A Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Why Does My Yeast Infection Keep Recurring?
Can Vaginal Yeast Infections be prevented?
Are Yeast Infection Tests Reliable?
Is it Possible for a Yeast Infection to Be Spread?
Can Yeasts in Stools Result in Vaginal Yeast Infections?
Yes, when you are talking about vaginal yeast infection you are also talking about Thrush. They are one and the same thing.
However let’s get one thing clear – yeast lives all over the body, both internally and externally, it even lives on the skin and it is perfectly normal. In the vagina it is also normal…to a certain degree. Yet, because, among other things, this environment is conducive to yeasts, it is the perfect place to experience an overgrowth which results in problems for many women.
It is actually rare to find a woman who has not suffered from this problem at some point in her life. However some women find that the problem recurs time and time again no matter what treatment her clinician prescribes. The sections below should answer many of the questions which are often raised by these sufferers.
There are numerous contributing factors to this health problem and these contributing factors seem to increase in number as the amount of research increases. Common causes, of course, include antibiotics and this problem has been suspected, if not well understood, since the 1950s. Yet when it comes to vaginal yeast infections, particularly that of Candida albicans, the problems increase. This is because of the type of cells in this region which, particularly when the patient has a raised level of estrogen, encourages fungal overgrowth. It is therefore more than likely that the introduction, and subsequent common usage, of oral birth control pills, have contribution dramatically to women suffering vaginal yeast infections or ‘thrush.’
The problem can also be caused, or at the very least exaggerated, by the use of NSAIDs which, although not exclusively used by women, doesn’t help on top of the estrogen issue.
One of the main symptoms is that of vaginal or ‘internal’ itching. This is a very good indicator that an overgrowth of yeasts is taking place. Often this itching will be accompanied by soreness or a burning sensation which will increase in intensity when urinating or having intercourse. Generally speaking both these practices will then have the cyclical effect of increasing the itchiness and subsequent discomfort.
Some women will find they have an increase in discharge which is light in color and quite thick in consistency. Not all women experience this symptom but, again, it is an indicator that an overgrowth is occurring.
There are numerous things you can do to try and minimize the discomfort and I give a broad outline below. However, as always, prevention is better than cure, so even if you are not currently suffering any problems try and follow these general care practices:
- If you have any doubts about your sexual partner then refrain from unprotected sex. Both men and women can carry numerous genital infections and, often unwittingly, transmit them to their partner.
- Always avoid wearing clothes which are too tight around the genital region – even if fashion dictates otherwise! Tight clothes might make you look good but they will only exacerbate the problems you already have and send you dashing to the loo on a night out!
- When buying undergarments always buy 100% cotton panties. These allow the skin to breathe and discourage overgrowth. Pantyhose should only be purchased with a cotton gusset, or, preferably, buy stockings or hold-ups.
- When washing and drying in the vaginal area stay away from perfumed soaps. If possible use one which is natural and has Tea Tree Oil as an ingredient. Pat, rather than rub the area dry and use a hairdryer (on a warm setting only) to complete the job.
- Douches can often serve to only make the problem worse. I do provide a special douche program to follow in my Candida Crusher if you really feel it is important to continue this practice, but otherwise try and drop the habit altogether.
- Go without undergarments wherever possible. This allows the air to circulate and minimizes creating an environment, one which is dark, warm and moist, where yeast will thrive. When omitting underwear it is also preferable to wear a skirt rather than trousers as, obviously, trousers can simply mimic the underwear environment.
- Unfortunately it is better to avoid having intercourse during the time you have a yeast infection. The action often serves only to irritate the area and can make it much worse. This can result in increased soreness, burning and the dreaded itching. You can also, even during protected sex, pass the infection on to your partner.
- Care must also be taken when using sex toys as these can often produce the same undesirable effects as biological does. It is also important to clean such toys very carefully to ensure they are not capable of transmitting the infection either back to you or to someone else.
- Although the temptation might often get too much it is important not to rub or scratch the itch whenever possible. You can damage the skin this way and allow the infection underneath where it will become worse. Some people find that patting the area softly will relieve the itching. Others find that applying either a well covered ice-pack or a warmed towel, also has the same effect.
- It is also relevant to note if you are either menopausal or post menopausal because this can result in changes to the cells in the vaginal region in addition to that of hormones. This can actually encourage recurring yeast infections.
- Avoid scented toilet paper, feminine sprays and deodorized sanitary wear. Such chemicals can serve to inflame already irritated skin.
- By following the above guidelines you should see a gradual improvement in the problem. If, however, you do not and the problem seems to be getting worse rather than better, then it is recommended you attend a clinician to get a professional opinion on examination.
Chapter 4 of my Candida Crusher Book deals specifically with treating vaginal yeast infections (Thrush) however there are some measures you can take meanwhile.
Firstly you can buy a good quality over-the-counter antifungal treatment together with taking some natural anti-Candida supplements.
If you are pregnant however, it is advisable that you refrain from using any products until you have first consulted your clinician.
Creams and treatments can also affect the integrity of some condoms and other contraceptive products such as diaphragms. As I stated above it is better to refrain from intercourse entirely until the yeast infection has been cleared.
If you are continually having problems then first see your clinician to rule out other possible health conditions. If, however you are following the guidance above and still find you are having problems then the source may well be as a result of an internal disturbance to microflora which is simply manifesting as a vaginal yeast infection. In this case I recommend that you follow the guidance contained in my Candida Crusher Program to rid yourself of this infection – permanently.
In most cases a vaginal yeast infection can be prevented, here are several ways:
- Wear 100% cotton underwear or undergarments (avoid nylon).
- Avoid tight-fitting pants and panty hose.
- Change out of a wet swimsuit as soon as possible, keep the genital area dry.
- Allow your vagina to breath; sit back on your chair.
- Avoid douches and feminine sprays.
- Avoid scented toilet paper and deodorant tampons.
This depends entirely on the quality of the test. I am hoping to add the option of a home yeast infection test kit to this site very shortly.
The short answer to this question is, yes. It is actually possible to spread a vaginal yeast infection to the nipple which can occur during sexual intercourse.
Again, the short answer is, yes. This is a very simple matter which occurs when wiping. It is very important for women to adopt the habit of wiping front to back rather than back to front to minimize the possibility of contamination.