Vaginal Yeast infections are uncomfortable, embarrassing, and have an adverse effect on the quality of a woman’s life. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called “candida albcans”. Yeast infections are overgrowths of normally growing fungi in the vagina. When this fungus grows out of control for many reasons including those described below, the vagina becomes inflamed, and a white cheesy discharge results. There is a strong odor, irritation and itching. Naturally occuring bacteria in the body usually control the yeast fungi. Sometimes this balance is upset. At least 75% of women experience a yeast infection at some point in their life. Disruption of this natural balance may occur with any of the following:
Excessive use of antibiotics, Diabetes, A weakened immune system (for example from HIV/AIDS, steroid use, pregnancy, cancer chemotherapy or other drugs that weaken the immune system), Use of douches or feminine hygiene sprays, Tight or non cotton underwear, Hormonal changes, Ovulation, Menopause, Pregnancy, Use of birth control pills, Use of hormone therapy. When the levels of this fungus exceed the bodies ability to destroy the invader, the fungus grows out of control. Vaginal yeast infection can be spread to the male urethra through sexual intercourse.
Generally speaking, the same things that lower our immunity and make it possible to contract other ailments, also make it possible to contract yeast infections. Stress is a major contributing factor. When we are is a stressful situation, or living a stress filled life, our bodies concentrate on dealing with the stress. When this occurs, our ability to fight disease, any disease, is lessened.
Some women experience an increase in yeast infections at menopause due to the tremendous hormonal changes that are occurring. Taking excessive antibiotics is a contributing factor. Antibiotics kill not only disease causing bacteria, but helpful bacteria that help our bodies fight disease.
Other contributing factors are excessive douching and use of scented feminine hygiene products. Any external product poses a risk for an individual who is susceptible to infection. Tight fitting clothes that don’t allow adequate blood and air circulation at the infected area are a problem. Its much easier to prevent a yeast infection than to cure one, so remembering all of these potential causes is the first step to preventing the problem in the first place.
Now I know this sounds like just a list of causes, but remember that we said the important thing was prevention. If you are susceptible to yeast infection, avoid bubble baths, irritating soaps and perfumed toilet paper. Avoid harsh detergents used to wash undergarments. Rinse your laundry thoroughly so that there is no detergent residue.
Diet has a big impact on candida yeast infections. Dairy products can lead to infection in some women as can most grain products, nuts and high sugar foods. Knowing the cause of the infection is important to prevention.
If you have taken every possible precaution to prevent infection, and you still suffer recurrent yeast infection problems, then its time to start looking at remedies. There are several antifungal drugs that are used in treatment, as well as a cornucopia of herbal and holistic treatments. If prevention was unsuccessful, and the holistic remedies failed, see your doctor. There is a great deal of long term damage that can be cause by long term and recurrent yeast infection. Take heart yeast infections are preventable and curable.