Yeast infections are treated with a pill that you swallow, or with a vaginal cream or vaginal suppository (a partially solid material that you insert into your vagina, where it dissolves and releases medicine). Your health care provider will explain to you what your choices are and if one is better than another for you. The pill is especially good if you don’t want to put cream inside of your vagina. Some anti-yeast vaginal creams are sold over-the-counter (without a prescription) in pharmacies. Other anti-yeast vaginal creams need a prescription. If you use a cream, then you should not use tampons during the treatment since it will absorb the medication and make it less effective.
If you’ve got a vagina, you’re at risk of a yeast infection. But that sound a lot more dramatic than it really is. Yeast infections are extremely common, so common that you can buy medication for them over the counter. And because that’s the case, you should probably know a thing or two about recognizing and treating them. Dr. Katherine McHugh — an ob-gyn at Indiana University Health — have a comprehensive overview of everything yeast infection.
“For the last five months my daughter has had a yeast diaper rash off and on. We have tried everything — Nystatin, Lotrimin, Diflucan — to kill the yeast externally, Griseofulvin to kill the yeast internally, and now we’re on a mix of Questran/Aquaphor ointment. It takes about a week to get rid of it with ointments and meds, but then it always comes back! Sometimes it’s only a few days later; sometimes it’s a few weeks later. I’ve given her probiotics and yogurt every day for the past five months, and it hasn’t made one bit of difference. The pediatrician now wants to refer us to a dermatologist. I just...think it’s an internal problem — that her body is overproducing yeast.”
If you’ve had a yeast infection before and you’re totally certain you’ve got one again, trying an over-the-counter medicine before checking with your doctor could be an acceptable treatment option. At best, you’ll be back in optimal vaginal health in a few days. At worst, if symptoms return, you’ll need to set up an appointment and pursue better treatment. The choice is yours—may the Lactobacilli be with you.
The health of the vagina relies on beneficial probiotic bacteria (lactobacilli, including L. acidophilus) to maintain a slightly acidic pH and keep yeast from overgrowing. Some suggest that women consume probiotics naturally found in yogurt or kefir, take probiotic supplements, or apply probiotic products vaginally (as appropriate), either to help relieve yeast infection symptoms or prevent recurrent yeast infections.
Also helpful: allowing your breasts to completely dry between feedings to prevent the growth of bacteria, changing nursing pads after feedings, wearing cotton bras that don't trap moisture and washing those bras frequently in hot water (drying them in the sun may also provide extra protection). Since antibiotics can trigger a yeast infection, they should be used only when needed — and that goes for both you and baby.
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A vaginal yeast infection is an infection caused by yeast (a type of fungus). Vaginal yeast infection is sometimes referred to as yeast vaginitis, Candidal vaginitis, or Candidal vulvovaginitis. The scientific name for the yeast that causes vaginitis is Candida. Over 90% of vaginal yeast infections are caused by the species known as Candida albicans. Other Candida species make up the remainder of yeast infections.