Yeast infections are very common, affecting up to 75% of women at least once in their lifetime. Also known as vaginal candidiasis, this fungal infection (the candida albicans fungus is the most common) causes itchiness, irritation, and different types of vaginal discharge. Most often it’s an unpleasant experience but not dangerous. And fortunately, they are fairly simple to avoid.
Dr. Joan Bergstrom and our medical team of doctors at Women's Health Services have decades of experience in serving the Arlington, TX area for all manner of OB/GYN care including yeast infections.
First, it should be understood that the vagina has a naturally balanced mix of yeast, including the bacteria that causes yeast infections. The problems arise when the number of specific things, like the candida albicans fungus, is out of balance. These factors create problems like itching, swelling, burning sensations, rash, soreness, and other symptoms generally associated with yeast infections.
The overgrowth that can create the environment for yeast infections can be caused by things like overuse of antibiotics, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, a compromised immune system, or hormone therapies that increase estrogen levels.
Many methods of prevention are pretty straightforward, and include:
Clean the vagina with soap and water frequently, and dry thoroughly to avoid areas of moisture for the yeast to grow. Steer clear of douching and scented feminine products to help avoid disrupting the balance of yeast in the body. Get out of sweaty or wet clothing as soon as possible.
A regular exercise regimen can help keep the body balanced and avoid the frequent sweat and moisture obesity can bring from creating an atmosphere that the infection can thrive in. A diet low in sugar will help, as sugar may increase the growth of yeast. Some studies have shown that plain yogurt can help with maintaining balance, as well as other oral probiotics.
Clothing that absorbs moisture, like cotton and silk can help prevent the buildup of bacteria that can cause infections. Nylons and synthetic fabrics are items that don’t absorb moisture as well and worn close to the genitals can create the perfect environment for infection. Avoid frequently wearing tight clothing as the heat they create can cause moisture.
Often yeast infections are treated with an antifungal medication (cream, suppository, or ointment) which generally works in three to seven days. They are available both over the counter and by prescription, depending on needs. Oral antifungal medications are available, and for severe or frequent infections multi doses of certain medications can be used.
The precise treatment will depend on the cause and severity of symptoms. To get the best quality diagnosis and treatment make an appointment with Dr. Bergstrom and our capable medical staff at Women's Health Services today.