It usually begins as an itch in the vagina. Then it becomes worse you actually want to scratch down there, but you know you can’t since it is going to be extremely embarrassing. When you pee, it feels as if it is burning you do not want to do it again. In fact, it is a chore to have sex, walk, ride a bike, and other activities you love doing.
Inasmuch as you want to tell your partner, friend, or mom about it, you cannot because there is always that stigma that comes along with any vaginal infection.
But guess what, you should not be ashamed, especially since your health is on the line.
What is it?
Based on the initial symptoms above, you may be suffering from vaginal yeast infection. Yeast, which is a fungus, can develop in different parts of the body that are usually moist. These include the mouth (oral thrush) or feet (athlete’s foot). It also occurs among men, although rarely.
In women, more than 70% develop yeast infection in the vagina (also known as genital candidiasis) at least once in their lives.
Why does it happen?
Until now, no one has correctly determined the exact cause of vaginal yeast infection other than there is an overgrowth of the fungi. The vagina has its own flora or microbiota, which means it does have some bacteria that serve as “soldiers” fighting off any abnormal growth like yeast.
However, there are times when their natural environment is disturbed, such as when the body produces low or high levels of certain hormones, as well as when there is overconsumption of glucose. A more moistened environment and sugar are just what the yeast needs to reproduce quickly and overpower the good bacteria.
Should I be worried?
It is both a yes and a no. Yeast infection can happen sporadically, and it is so normal that, when you come to think of it, you should not worry too much about it happening. Besides, there are already many treatments available, and some are over the counter. You can buy them without any doctor’s prescription.
Vaginal yeast infection becomes a more serious health issue when:
- It prevents you from enjoying quality of life.
- It is recurring. It is possible that what you have is yeast that is resistant to certain medications.
- You have diabetes or prone to it. Yeast consumes sugar, so if you have a lot of yeast, it’s more than likely you also have copious amounts of glucose in the blood.
The symptoms of yeast infection are also very similar to certain sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infection. Thus, even if yeast is treatable by yourself, it’s always best to see your gynecologist for a proper diagnosis.
How do I prevent it?
- Reduce sugar intake, especially if it has become recurrent.
- Learn to deal with stress more effectively.
- Get more information about hormone therapy.
- Avoid wearing tight panties. Go for cotton underwear.
- Avoid using douches.
- Control your weight.