Vaginal Yeast Infection
What is it?
A yeast infection is a very common fungal infection caused by overgrowth of candida (or yeast) in the body. It is not really an STI but is included because it can be spread through sexual contact. Just because a person has a yeast infection does not mean she or he is having sex.
How do you get it?
What causes candida to overgrow? Itís different for everyone, but some potential causes are:
How do you avoid it?
- Hormonal changes (right before menstruation or from the pill).
- Illness (if your immune system is weakened).
- Using antibiotics.
- Semen inside the vagina.
- Taking certain birth control pills and steroids.
- Diet - especially mismanaged sugar levels.
- Wearing tight and/or synthetic underwear or pants (they trap moisture and heat, creating the perfect environment for candida to grow).
- Using scented tampons and pads.
- Using scented bubble bath, soaps, feminine deodorant sprays or powders.
- Some people are just prone to getting them no matter what they do, and others may never get yeast infections from the above mentioned potential causes.
Females are more likely to get yeast infections than males but only about half of all women experience symptoms.
- Eat a well-balance diet with lots of fibre.
- Keep your genitals clean and dry (males who are not circumcised should take care to clean properly under the foreskin).
- Wear loose dry clothing and cotton underwear.
- Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom .
- Pee after sex.
- Do not use scented tampons and pads or perfume products such as soaps and oils.
- Use condoms and dental dams.
Symptoms for women can include:
Symptoms for men can include:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and around the vulva.
- A clumpy white discharge from the vagina that looks like cottage cheese.
- A yeasty odour from the vagina.
- Genital itching.
- A rash on the penis.
- A slight discharge from the penis (for some guys).
A doctor or nurse will do a visual examination of your genitals. He or she may take a urine sample to rule out other possibilities and a sample of any discharge to look at under the microscope.
You can buy over-the-counter vaginal creams or tablets at most pharmacies without a prescription. Just follow the directions and apply the cream directly on the infected area or insert a suppository into the vagina. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe a pill you can take or a special cream.
For people who frequently get yeast infections, over the counter medications can cause the infections to adapt and resist treatment. The following can help reset the bacterial balance without a strong antibiotic effect:
- Garlic cloves (whole, NOT crushed) inserted into the vagina.
- Boric Acid (available at pharmacies) packed into gelatin capsules, inserted into the vagina. DO NOT CONSUME Boric Acid Orally.
- Eating yogourt and also putting yogourt inside the vagina can be helpful to reset the bacterial balance.
If you are prone to yeast infections you may want to consult a nutritionist and/or naturopath to alter your diet.