Yeast infections are very common in teen or adult women, especially pregnant women or diabetics. The burning, itching and discharge associated with these infections can cause alarm, especially for a woman experiencing her first yeast infection. However, although yeast infections are very uncomfortable, they are also rarely very serious and are easily treated.
Candida albicans, one of many kinds of yeasts, is usually the culprit behind yeast infection (candidiasis) of the vagina. In addition to vaginal infections, candida can cause skin infections, mouth infections (thrush) and, less commonly, serious systemic infections.
Vaginal yeast infections usually cause vaginal burning and itching and a pale, usually chalky, discharge. Occasionally, yeast infections do occur without significant itching or discharge. Similar yeast-related skin infections can occur in men and babies, in the groin area, around the mouth, in the armpits or in folds of skin. Red splotchy rashes are the main symptom of skin yeast infections. Infections of the mouth cause pale “fur” or pale patches on the tongue.
Yeast (Candida) is a fungus and, as such, it thrives in warm, moist areas. Commonly present on the skin and in the vagina, yeast colonies are usually kept in check by beneficial bacteria. When antibiotics, illness or something else disrupts the natural balance between yeast fungus and good bacteria, the yeast grows and causes discomfort. You may use an anti-itch cream to temporarily relieve burning and itching, but if the cause is yeast, the irritation will recur until you cure the infection.
To maintain beneficial bacteria in the vagina, avoid douching, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Because yeast love warmth and moisture, keep yeast-prone areas clean and dry. Always shower after working out and put on dry, clean clothing. If you’ve never had a yeast infection before and are exhibiting symptoms, see your doctor. Otherwise, unless you have other medical problems or are taking prescription medications, try a non-prescription yeast remedy.
To reduce irritation and aid healing of infections, wear breathable undergarments and loose-fitting clothing. This will keep the area dryer and prevent chafing. Avoid scratching itchy areas, as scratching will only cause more irritation.
The strongest non-prescription medicine cures a typical yeast infection in as little as 1 to 3 days. Less powerful doses take about 7 days to cure the infection. All symptoms should be completely gone in 1 to 2 weeks.
If your symptoms occur with fever or other signs of illness, you should consult with your doctor. Vaginal or skin yeast infections do not cause fever. If you are taking prescription medicines, check with your doctor before using an over-the-counter yeast infection medicine. Some active ingredients interact with Warfarin. If you are pregnant or have a yellow, green or brown discharge, see your physician. A different infection could be the culprit. Do likewise if an over-the-counter yeast infection medicine does not cure your problem.