A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes increased discharge, strong odors, irritation, and an extreme itchiness of the vulva and vagina. Infections occur when there is an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. You may need a longer treatment plan if you have the infections, four or more within a year.
Causes of Recurrent Yeast Infections
- Immune System
A weakened immune system might make you more susceptible to yeast infections. Women taking antibiotics might develop a yeast infection because the antibiotics kill the good bacteria then allow Candida albicans to grow. Also, taking steroids can counteract the inflammation that is essential for an immune response, thereby making it hard for your immune system to fight against a yeast infection.
Candida albicans is the fungus most responsible for vaginal yeast infections. The immune response in healthy individuals will usually clear up infections, but a weak immune system causes a significant increase in the risk for Candida infections. Genetic changes might cause some women to be more vulnerable to Candida albicans due to inability to create key proteins for defense.
- Panty Liners
Using scented panty liners may raise skin pH, thereby exposing the body to Candida albicans. Women who are susceptible to recurring yeast infections shouldn’t use panty liners because they can stop air flow and trap moisture, creating the kind of conditions that will promote yeast cell growth.
A woman may be prone to developing yeast infection during pregnancy due to high levels of glycogen and estrogen in vaginal secretions. These hormonal changes causes the vaginal secretions of pregnant women to contain more glucose, which can feed the Candida albicans and create an excessive growth of yeast cells.
Estrogen level drops during menopause. Low estrogen levels may cause an imbalance in your vaginal bacteria, which may promote Candida growth. Vaginitis can result from reduced estrogen levels during the years leading up to and including menopause.
Male yeast infection, also called balanitis, is an inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis. Balanitis generally affects uncircumcised males. It causes the foreskin and head become red, inflamed, and irritated. The condition is often caused by Candida albicans. A woman’s partner can still re-infect her even when her yeast infection clears up.
Treating recurring yeast infection
Recurring yeast infection can be treated with antifungal medications called azoles. These medications can be bought over-the-counter or by prescription. It comes in suppositories, medicated tampons, and vaginal creams. The medications might include:
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- Monistat (miconazole)
- Terazol (terconazole)
- Gyne-Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
- Gynazole (butoconazole)
- Vagistat (tioconazole)
Preventing yeast infection
- Wipe from front to back
- Avoid synthetic underwear, use cotton instead
- Avoid the use of scented produces such as pad, tampons, powders, hygiene sprays, or fragrances in your genital area
- Change out of wet bathing suits and sweaty clothes as soon as possible
- Avoid douching and bathtubs