Yeast Infection is a fungal infection of any of the Candida species, of which Candida albicans is probably the most common.
Yeast organisms are always present in all people, but are usually prevented from “overgrowth” by naturally occurring microorganisms.
At least three quarters of all women will experience candidiasis at some point in their lives. The Candida albicans organism is found in the vaginas of almost all women and normally causes no problems.
However, when it gets out of balance with the other “normal flora”, such as lactobacilli, which can also be harmed by using douches, an overgrowth and symptoms can result. The use of oral contraceptives and some antibiotics, and diabetes mellitus can lead to an increased incidence in yeast infections.
The most common symptoms are itching and irritation of the vagina and/or vulva, and a whitish or whitish-gray discharge that may have a “yeasty” smell like beer or baking bread. It may resemble cottage cheese.
Many women mistake the symptoms of the more common bacterial vaginosis for a yeast infection. In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, only 33 percent of women who were self treating for a yeast infection actually had a yeast infection. Instead they had either bacterial vaginosis or a mixed-type infection. Currently, bacterial vaginosis can only be diagnosed during a doctor’s visit.
Candidiasis is alleged to be successfully treated either with home remedies or, in the case of a more severe infection, with either over the counter or prescription antifungal medications. Home remedies for candidiasis include the consumption or direct application of yogurt, which contains lactobacillus, “friendly” bacteria that kill yeast, acidophilus tablets or salves, and even lightly crushed cloves of garlic, which yield allicin, an antifungal. Boric acid has also been used to treat yeast infections when gelcaps are filled with boric acid powder and two are inserted at bedtime for three to four nights. Another remedy is to douche with a weak mix of “Baking” soda in water (1 teaspoon to 1 cup). Baking soda is alkaline and changes the vagina’s acidity temporarily to a higher alkaline environment in which candida cannot survive.
While home remedies can offer relief in minor cases of infection, seeking medical attention can be necessary because the extent of the infection sometimes cannot be judged well by the sufferer. Prescription medication is often the only solution to an infection; the antifungal drugs commonly used to treat candidiasis are topical clotrimazole, topical nystatin, fluconazole, topical ketoconazole. In severe infections, generally in hospitalized patients, amphotericin B, caspofungin, or voriconazole may be used. These medications are not effective against the more common bacterial vaginosis.
Disclaimer – While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, the information presented here should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor for more information about Yeast Infection.