The vagina naturally has a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast. The hormone estrogen helps lactobacilli (a bacteria) to grow, and fend off harmful organisms in the vagina to keep you healthy. When this balance is disrupted, candida (a fungus) can grow in excessive amounts and result in a yeast infection.
How Do You Get It
Anyone at any time can have a yeast infection. Although men can get it too on their penises and scrotums, it’s not as common as among women.
When the balance in your vagina’s environment is thrown off, that’s when the naturally occurring yeast can grow too much and lead to an infection. Some of the things that can cause this are:
- Changes in hormones (such as during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause)
- Antibiotics, cortisone, and other medication
- A weak immune system
- Vaginal douches and sprays
Yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), however, you could develop yeast infection from having sex when your body has a bad reaction with your partner’s natural genital yeast and bacteria.
What Are The Symptoms
Itchiness in and around the vagina is the most common symptom of yeast infection. You may also experience:
- Burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and vulva
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge (looks like cottage cheese)
You may or may not experience all of the symptoms, but sometimes they have similarities with other conditions and STIs. An accurate diagnosis will help you get the best treatment, so it’s good to consult your healthcare provider if you think you have a yeast infection or are experiencing any symptom.
How To Treat It
Antifungal creams, ointments, and suppositories can usually treat yeast infection in a few days. Your healthcare provider could also prescribe you with a single-dose pill. Whatever you are given, make sure you follow the directions to make sure that the yeast infection is completely treated.
Friction can cause more irritation or make the infection harder to treat, so it’s best to take a break from sex for a while or putting anything inside your vagina until you’ve completed your treatment. Some of the medicines for your vagina have oil in them, which could make condoms break. Yeast infection can get itchy and tempting to scratch, but try to keep yourself from scratching to help make the infection heal easier.
How To Prevent It
Using condoms is one of the best ways to prevent developing and passing on yeast infection. Although it is quite common, here are ways how you can help prevent it:
- Wear breathable underwear such as made of cotton
- Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight
- Don’t douche
- Use feminine hygiene products that are unscented
- Avoid hot tubs
- Change out of wet or damp clothes
- Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet
- Change your sanitary pad or tampons frequently during your period
- Manage your diabetes
- Use antibiotics only when you need them
- Keep your vagina clean and dry
- Practice good hygiene