If you’re familiar with the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection already, then you can easily treat the condition at home on your own. Keep in mind that around the time of your period, you’re more likely to get a yeast infection because menstrual blood can increase pH levels within the vagina and alter hormone levels, allowing for yeast to multiply more quickly. Sometimes getting your period can resolve a yeast infection, but not always. Either way, it’s usually OK to wait a couple days before seeing a doctor if you suspect a problem. But don’t wait more than a week if symptoms don’t go away. If you experience unexpected bleeding, see your doctor right away.
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A: Normal, or “physiologic” discharge is healthy and something that you would expect to have every day. You’ll typically notice a clear or whitish discharge without any foul odor. The texture may vary and be thin, watery, or stringy, and this can depend on the time of the month. The volume might change as well -- you might have a little bit every day, or nothing on some days and a lot on other days. Basically, there is a wide range of what is normal but it is important to know what is normal for your body.
What you wear can make a difference. Underwear with a cotton crotch, rather than one made from synthetic fabric, is recommended. Skirts and pants that are loose-fitting can help keep you cooler and drier. Avoid wearing tight pantyhose and any pants that are tight in the crotch. Change out of wet or damp clothes as soon as possible, including swimsuits and exercise clothing.
Support your immune system by eating a nutrient-dense diet, especially one high in vegetables, healthy fats (including antimicrobial coconut oil), probiotics and quality sources of protein. Probiotic foods (including kinds that contain bacteria such as lactobacillus or acidophilus) are beneficial for fighting infections of all kinds and proven to be beneficial for yeast infections. (8)
Vaginal Yeast Infections are caused when there is an overgrowth of yeast, a fungus (ew!) that lives in the vagina. Typically, beneficial vaginal bacteria like Lactobacillus help keep other organisms (like the yeast) under control. But, when the beneficial bacteria cannot keep up and yeast overgrows, you can get a yeast infection. So how do you know if it is a Yeast Infection? Yeast Infections are usually signified by itching and burning in the vagina and around the vulva. A white vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese and may be odorless or have a yeasty smell (like bread or beer).
Though many women find that summer is the most common season for yeast infections, know that just because the weather is starting to change, doesn't mean your vagina is completely out of the yeast infection woods. But don't stress, my friend! Seriously, dodging yeast infections is a breeze once you've got the basics down. It's all about locking in the right daily routines and weekly habits; that way, you're practicing prevention regularly and it doesn't even feel like you're doing anything extra. Consistent maintenance is the cornerstone of any healthy vagina, right?
To diagnose your vaginal symptoms, your health care professional will perform a gynecological examination and check your vagina for inflammation and abnormal discharge. A sample of the vaginal discharge may be taken for laboratory examination under a microscope, or for a yeast culture, test to see if candida fungi grow under laboratory conditions. Looking under a microscope also helps rule out other causes of discharge such as BV or trichomoniasis, which require different treatment.
Once you start using an OTC anti-fungal medication, your yeast infection symptoms will probably begin to disappear within a few days. As with antibiotics, though, it's extremely important to continue to use your medication for the entire number of days recommended. Even if your symptoms have gone away, the fungus may still be active enough to cause a relapse.
It’s no wonder why you might not want to head to the doctor to treat a yeast infection. Waiting to see the doctor can extend your itchy vagina experience, and actually following through with the appointment can be time-consuming. Plus, isn’t that the entire point of all those at-home yeast infection treatments at the drugstore? We spoke with ob/gyns to find out: When the going gets cottage cheesy, is it OK to just treat a yeast infection at home?
This is because vaginal infections caused by bacteria, as well as some sexually transmitted infections (STI), may have symptoms very similar to those caused by yeast, but they require different treatments. Since yeast infection treatments have become available over the counter (OTC), many women simply visit the closest drugstore and buy an antifungal cream.
Aside from the discomfort of persistent itching, you can’t assume that a yeast infection will simply go away. “Untreated yeast infections can lead to long-term vaginal irritation and discomfort,” says Dr. Quimper. A yeast infection is likely not dangerous, she says, but that “yeast infection” might also be something else, like a sexually transmitted infection, that could cause bigger problems. Here are healthy secrets your vagina wants to tell you.
The creamy, cottage cheese-like discharge common with yeast infections comes from lesions. In the mouth, they can occur on the tongue, tonsils, roof of the mouth or inner cheeks. The tongue may appear white. On the skin, lesions appear as small blisters around the infected area. The discharge from lesions of a vaginal yeast infection can be watery and white to thick and chunky.
Your doctor will need to perform a pelvic exam. He or she also might decide to run blood or culture tests to diagnose a yeast infection. Then the doctor may give you a prescription for an oral antifungal medicine such as fluconazole (brand name: Diflucan). Or your doctor might recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) cream to fight the infection. (16) If you decide to fight the infection on your own, chances are you’ll purchase a home kit from a drug store. Today, there are dozens of OTC treatments, including suppositories, antifungal creams and ointments available in stores. While some prescriptions can be helpful for stopping reoccurring infections, ultimately most creams reduce symptoms without addressing the root cause. (17)
Vaginal yeast infections occur when new yeast is introduced into the vaginal area, or when there is an increase in the quantity of yeast already present in the vagina relative to the quantity of normal bacteria. For example, when the normal, protective bacteria are eradicated by antibiotics (taken to treat a urinary tract, respiratory, or other types of infection) or by immunosuppressive drugs, the yeast can multiply, invade tissues, and cause irritation of the lining of the vagina (vaginitis).
That fungus problem is exactly what causes yeast infection discharge, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University. Dr. Streicher told FirstForWomen.com: "When you look at a yeast infection, generally what you have is a white, thick, cottage-cheesy discharge that is very itchy."
About 5-8% of the reproductive age female population will have four or more episodes of symptomatic Candida infection per year; this condition is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC).[17][18] Because vaginal and gut colonization with Candida is commonly seen in people with no recurrent symptoms, recurrent symptomatic infections are not simply due to the presence of Candida organisms. There is some support for the theory that RVVC results from an especially intense inflammatory reaction to colonization. Candida antigens can be presented to antigen presenting cells, which may trigger cytokine production and activate lymphocytes and neutrophils that then cause inflammation and edema.[19][20]
A lot of doctors admittedly do a bad job with vaginitis. Some diagnose patients based on what the discharge looks like (you can’t) and others fail to do all the tests. Others were improperly trained in looking at discharge under the microscope. This is a country-wide phenomenon and opinion pieces have been written lamenting the modern gynecologist’s inability to correctly diagnose vaginitis.
Another word about douching — not only can douching cause allergic reactions, it can also alter the natural balance of good and bacteria within a woman’s vagina. This in turn can create an environment that allows candida to flourish, resulting in a yeast infection. Douching can also lead to other health concerns, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, bacterial vaginosis, pregnancy complications and cervical cancer. There is no evidence that douching provides any real health or cleansing benefits.The body naturally cleanses itself and douches often cause more harm than good. For all of these reasons, I don’t recommend douching. (10)
If you’re not sure whether you have a yeast infection or something else, it’s important to see a doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment. This is important. If you don’t really have a yeast infection, antifungals won’t help you get better. They can actually prolong the real problem, because while you’ll think you’re treating the issue, the real cause will continue to develop.
A: In general, discharge generally comes from the vagina and cervical mucus. What that means is that the skin inside the vagina and the cervix are always going to produce some kind of discharge. What I, as a physician, consider discharge to be, is a normal or physiological bodily function that helps keep the vagina healthy. However, sometimes the discharge can have certain colors, odors, or textures that can be a sign of either physiologic changes or an infection.

"Yeast breeds in high-moisture environments, and pads and tampons can keep excess moisture around, allowing yeast to grow," says Taraneh Shirazian, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Her simple solution: Change pads/tampons often, at least once every four hours, especially as the weather becomes warmer.
During my pregnancy, I developed terribly uncomfortable vaginal yeast symptoms that just about drove me crazy. I knew it was a yeast infection, but since I was pregnant, I just didn't want to do anything I shouldn't. So I went for a quick check, and my nurse midwife sent me right off to get some over-the-counter cream. She told me that even though I'd been right about my diagnosis, I'd done the right thing to see her first. Sometimes it isn't what you think it is, and you never know what medicines are safe when you're pregnant.

"Yeast breeds in high-moisture environments, and pads and tampons can keep excess moisture around, allowing yeast to grow," says Taraneh Shirazian, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Her simple solution: Change pads/tampons often, at least once every four hours, especially as the weather becomes warmer.
Sometimes allergies to condoms/latex, soaps or other hygiene products such as bath oils, tampons, spermicidal jelly or douches can cause allergies and infections. Chemical products are irritating to the sensitive genital area and can negatively impact the balance of bacteria in your vagina. If you’ve recently started using new products and notice infections taking place, try switching up your products and use something more natural instead.
Another source of viral vaginitis is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that is also transmitted through sexual contact. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer in women. This virus also causes painful warts to grow on the vagina, rectum, vulva, or groin. However, visible warts are not always present, in which case, the virus is generally detected by a test for HPV done with a Pap test.

In the case of vaginal yeast infections, Candida albicans yeast first attaches itself to newborn babies right when they’re born, after coming into contact with the yeast from the mother. Normally, this happens right at the time of birth or, in some cases, shortly after. By the time a baby is about 6 months old, there’s a 90 percent chance that Candida albicans is present in his/her system.
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