Yeast vaginitis

Yeast vaginitis is a common vaginal infection that affects up to 75% of women at least once during their lifetime. The most frequent symptoms are itchiness, redness, a whitish discharge and pain. It should be noted that there are several types of vaginitis. They are caused by different types of microbes and the various symptoms and treatments differ.

Yeast vaginitis can occur in healthy women. Certain factors may cause an abnormal growth of microbes, leading to an infection. If you are experiencing symptoms suggestive of vaginitis for the first time, it is mandatory to consult your physician as he or she will be able to identify the microbe responsible and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Although yeast vaginitis can be very unpleasant, it is not serious and is usually easy to treat.

Risk factors

Certain factors may promote the growth of yeast:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Menstruation;
  • Stress;
  • Poorly controlled diabetes, weakened immune system;
  • Wearing tight clothing or synthetic underwear;
  • The use of certain vaginal products (e.g., deodorants, soaps, antiseptics);
  • The use of certain medications (e.g., antibiotics, hormonal contraceptives, chemotherapy).

Yeast vaginitis may nonetheless develop in spite of not having any predisposing factors.

Treatment

Yeast infections can be treated locally with vaginal products or with a single dose of an oral antifungal agent.

Once you have consulted with your physician to rule out other types of vaginal infections and are able to recognize the symptoms of yeast vaginitis, you can go to your pharmacy and buy a treatment product that does not require a prescription. Your pharmacist will help you choose the most suitable product from among the vaginal creams and tablets available, for a course of treatment that varies between 1 and 7 days, or an oral product if available. These products are effective and have very few side effects with the exception of mild irritation on application. Sexual partners do not usually require treatment.

Here are some tips that may be helpful if you have yeast vaginitis:
  • Whenever possible, try to control the factors that may trigger an infection;
  • Avoid oils, perfumes and foams; use mild soap;
  • Avoid vaginal douches; they are ineffective and may promote infection;
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear as they are better at absorbing moisture than synthetic materials.
Consult your physician if you:
  • are less than 12 years old;
  • have a fever;
  • are pregnant;
  • have coloured or foul-smelling discharge;
  • have symptoms of infection within 2 months following a treatment;
  • have diabetes or other problems with your immune system;
  • have pelvic pain or an increased need to urinate.
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