Vaginal yeast infections are due to excessive growth of Candida. These yeast are normally present in the vagina in small numbers. It is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection; however, it may occur more often in those who are frequently sexually active. Risk factors include taking antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Eating a diet high in simple sugar may also play a role. Tight clothing, type of underwear, and personal hygiene do not appear to be factors. Diagnosis is by testing a sample of vaginal discharge. As symptoms are similar to that of the sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia and gonorrhea, testing may be recommended.
Despite the lack of evidence, wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing is often recommended as a preventative measure. Avoiding douching and scented hygiene products is also recommended. Treatment is with an antifungal medication. This may be either as a cream such as clotrimazole or with oral medications such as fluconazole. Probiotics have not been found to be useful for active infections.
If you do have a yeast infection, your doctor will probably prescribe a pill to swallow or a cream, tablet, or suppository to put in the vagina. When you get home, follow all the directions on the package carefully. Creams, tablets, and suppositories often come with an applicator to help you place the medicine inside your vagina, where it can begin to work.
In people with weakened immune systems, candidal infections can affect various internal organs and cause pain or dysfunction of the organ. People with suppressed immune systems due to AIDS, chemotherapy, steroids or other conditions may contract a yeast infection called esophagitis in their upper gastrointestinal (GI) systems. This infection is similar to thrush but extends down the mouth and esophagus to the stomach. Candida esophagitis can cause painful ulcers throughout the GI system, making it too painful to swallow even liquids. If the infection spreads into the intestines, food may be poorly absorbed. People with this condition are in danger of becoming dehydrated. There may be associated pain in the area of the sternum (breast bone), pain in the upper abdomen, and/or nausea and vomiting.
Boric acid is a powerful antiseptic that some women claim is useful for treating yeast infections that are resistant to other remedies. According to a 2009 study, topical boric acid showed encouraging results as a treatment for vaginal infections. Some health websites claim boric acid vaginal suppositories may also be effective in treating vaginal yeast infections.
Some dermatologists and pediatric infectious disease specialists point out that the effectiveness of these topical creams has been waning over the last few years. An alternative oral medication (fluconazole [Diflucan]) taken once a day for two weeks can be very effective. Many pediatricians will initially recommend one of the topical medications for ease and simplicity and use fluconazole if topical treatment is not effective.
Some people find soaking in an apple cider vinegar bath offers relief, as the vinegar can help restore normal acidity to the vagina. Add two cups of vinegar to a shallow warm—not hot—bath, and soak for 15 minutes. Make sure you dry yourself thoroughly before getting dressed. Every body is different, but most women will see some improvement after two or three soaks.
Genital yeast infection in men: Men may develop symptoms of a genital yeast infection after intercourse with a woman who has a vaginal yeast infection. However, yeast infection is not considered to be a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) because women can have the yeast normally in the body and do not acquire it from an outside source. Most experts do not recommend treatment of male sex partners of women with candida yeast infection unless they develop symptoms. Symptoms can include itching and burning of the penis as well as a rash on the skin of the penis.
As McHugh mentioned, some women get stuck in a hellish cycle of constant yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis — treating BV causes a yeast infection which causes BV and so on and so forth. This isn't something you're just doomed to live with forever. McHugh said if this is happening to you, you should see an ob-gyn or pelvic health specialist. Both to rule out any other underlying issue, and see if there's another way to treat either issue to break the cycle.
Another thing that is a major godsend is coconut oil. Yeah, the same kind you use in cooking. Honestly, I don't even buy diaper rash products because coconut oil trumps them all. It's good as lotion for the family (and the oily feeling disappears in a minute or two, unlike with other oils), it smells good, and it's totally safe if baby puts his lotioned hands in his mouth. Tasty, makes skin soft, helps diaper rashes, healthy, and kills yeast! It's ALMOST as cool as breast milk ... almost. If baby is old enough to eat solids, mixing a little coconut oil in with some (low sugar!) food can help, too.
To treat thrush in the baby’s mouth, the doctor will prescribe a liquid medication called Nystatin. Follow the package directions to gently rub the medication on your baby’s tongue, cheeks and gums. This is usually done after a feeding, four times a day for two days. If you are using a breast pump, pacifier or bottle nipple, you must boil it for 20 minutes, run it through a dishwasher or use a micro-steam sanitizer each day. Note that boiling may wear down bottle nipples and pacifiers, so you may have to use new ones after one week of boiling.
Let’s say you’ve had a diagnosed yeast infection in the past, you self-treated a recent one in the last month or two, and it seems like the infection didn’t go away—or it went away but now it’s back. That might mean the treatment simply masked the symptoms rather than eradicating the overgrowth completely. “If your symptoms aren't better and they don't stay better, then you really have to go in and get checked,” Dr. Eckert says.
For most girls, there's no way to prevent yeast infections. Girls may feel more comfortable and have less irritation if they wear breathable cotton underwear and loose clothes and avoid vaginal sprays and douches. But there's no scientific proof that doing these things prevents yeast infections. If your daughter has diabetes, keeping her blood sugar levels under control will help her avoid getting yeast infections.
A health care provider will use a cotton swab to take a sample of your vaginal discharge. The sample is put on a slide along with a drop of a special liquid. Your health care provider or a person working in a lab will then look at the sample under a microscope to see if you have an overgrowth of yeast. There are other office based tests for evaluating vaginal discharge. Your health care provider may also do a culture of the discharge, particularly if you have had yeast infections that keep coming back.
A vaginal yeast infection, which is also sometimes called vulvovaginal candidiasis, happens when the healthy yeast that normally lives in your vagina grows out of control. It often leads to itching and other irritating symptoms. The medical name for a yeast infection is "candidiasis," because they’re usually caused by a type of yeast called candida.