Unfortunately, many women are familiar with the itching and burning that comes with a yeast infection. In fact, about 75 percent of the female population will have at least one yeast infection during their lives. But for those who haven’t, they may be experiencing symptoms and wonder, what the heck is going on?
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. A healthy vagina has many bacteria and a small number of yeast cells. The acidic environment of the vagina prevents yeast from growing. When something happens to change the balance of these organisms, the vagina becomes less acidic, allowing yeast to grow too much and lead to infection.
We’re not kidding when we say yeast infections can be very uncomfortable. I sure many women throw include a few expletives when it comes to describing them. Symptoms include itching, burning and irritation in the vagina, swelling and irritation of the vulva, and excessive vaginal discharge that can be thick and white and resemble cottage cheese.
Some women experience pain or burning when peeing and/or frequent urination which is caused by inflammation of the urinary opening. Sexual intercourse may also be painful due to the swelling and dryness.
These symptoms typically take place the week before a menstrual cycle. Some women have all of these symptoms, while others only notice one or two. Although they can be terribly bothersome, they are generally not serious. And luckily, treatment is simple.
The best advice is see your doctor if you aren't sure what you have or if this is the first time you’re experiencing these symptoms. Other infections, including some sexually transmitted diseases, can cause similar symptoms. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your symptoms by learning your medical history and performing a vaginal exam.
For the most part yeast infections are treated with medicinal cream that is put directly into the vagina. It may be a cream that women insert in the vagina with a special applicator or a suppository which dissolves when put into the vagina. Cream can also be used on the vulva to help relieve burning and itching.