A vaginal yeast infection is also known as vaginal candidiasis, and it refers to a fungal ailment that triggers discomfort, discharge, as well as intense itching in both the vaginal and vulvar regions. Those are the tissues surrounding the vaginal opening.
Referred to as vaginal candidiasis, the condition affects roughly 3 out of 4 women at some juncture in their lives, with many of them having to face recurring episodes. Remarkably, while it isn’t classified as a sexually transmitted infection, the risk of developing a vaginal yeast infection heightens during the first instances of regular sexual activity. Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests potential links between these infections and activities such as oral-genital contact, potentially expanding the spectrum of causative factors.
What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?
The vaginal and vulvar areas may go through itching and irritation during a yeast infection. This discomfort can be particularly noticeable during sexual intercourse or when the patient urinates. Redness and swelling might affect the vulva, causing soreness and vaginal pain. A rash could develop as well in the vaginal region.
Thick, white, odorless discharge with a texture resembling cottage cheese might be present as well. Additionally, watery vaginal discharge could occur.
In some cases, yeast infections can become more complex. In this case, severe symptoms could arise, such as extensive redness, swelling, and intense itching leading to cracks, tears, or sores in the affected areas. Those who face yeast infections four or more times within a year might be going through a complicated situation. Certain factors, such as infections triggered by less common types of fungus, uncontrolled diabetes, fungus, or a weakened immune system due to medications or conditions like HIV infection, can also contribute to complex yeast infections.
How to cure yeast infections
The approach to addressing yeast infections hinges on the seriousness and recurrence of the condition.
For cases of mild to moderate symptoms and sporadic episodes, your healthcare provider could suggest:
- A brief regimen of vaginal therapy, entailing the usage of antifungal medication for a duration of up to seven days and at least three days. This typically proves effectiveness in clearing yeast infections. The spectrum of antifungal treatments includes creams, tablets, ointments, and suppositories like miconazole (Monistat 3) and terconazole. Availability ranges from over-the-counter to prescription-only, depending on the specific drug.
- Alternatively, a one-time oral medication might be prescribed, involving a single dose of fluconazole (Diflucan). Notably, oral medication is discouraged during pregnancy. In situations of more pronounced symptoms, a two-dose regimen administered three days apart could be recommended.
Should your symptoms persist despite treatment or resurface within a span of two months, it’s advisable to revisit your doctor for more evaluation.
More severe symptoms require a stronger treatment
Should your symptoms manifest with severity or frequent recurrence, your healthcare professional could propose different ways to treat the condition:
- An extended regimen of vaginal therapy spanning a significant duration. This course of action involves daily consumption of antifungal medication for a period of up to two weeks, followed by a once-weekly routine for six months in a row.
- An alternative approach might involve multidose oral medication. Here, your doctor could prescribe two to three oral doses of antifungal medication, circumventing vaginal therapy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this method is not advised for pregnant women.
- In situations where the candida fungus displays resistance to conventional antifungal agents, your doctor might recommend azole resistant therapy. This could involve the use of boric acid capsules inserted into the vaginal region. It is essential to exercise caution as boric acid could be fatal if ingested orally. This particular treatment route is exclusively employed to address candida fungus resistant to standard antifungal interventions.
It’s always crucial to talk to your doctor when you manifest symptoms related to yeast infections.