Vaginal yeast infections are fungal infections that cause irritation, odd odors, intense itchiness, and abnormal discharge in and around the vagina and vulva. Although 3 in 4 women will experience a yeast infection sometime in their life, that doesn’t make these tricky little infections any less annoying.
Although yeast is a naturally-occurring substance in a healthy vagina, when the balance of yeast to bacteria gets out of hand, yeast infections crop up and get nasty. If you’re battling a mild or even more stubborn yeast infection, though, you can take comfort in knowing that there are many treatments available for you.
If you don’t want to bust out the Clotrimazole just yet, that’s OK. In fact, there are several natural remedies you can test out. You can take a bath and add baking soda to the water. This should take away the itch and clear up some of the burning sensations. You can also apply some plain, unsweetened yogurt to your labia to help relieve the itching and irritation.
If you feel comfortable preparing homeopathic treatments, you can also whip up some herbal antifungal treatments with ingredients like garlic, grapefruit seed extract, and caprylic acid. These items will boost your immune system and also relieve some of the yeast infection symptoms. If you battle frequent yeast infections, you can test out boric acid suppositories to help control your yeast.
For those who either don’t enjoy natural remedies or just don’t find them successful, the next step could be probiotics. Since yeast infections occur as a result of a yeast imbalance within your vagina, it only makes sense to try a supplement that typically restores your vagina’s bacteria to yeast balance, right?
You can pick up probiotics in several forms, including oral supplements and vaginal ovules. You should also consider adding probiotics to your daily regimen if you battle frequent yeast infections and end up on antibiotics for any reason, as antibiotics can lead to a yeast infection in some cases.
Creams & Oral Treatments
Of course, you can treat the vast majority of yeast infections with over-the-counter vaginal creams or suppositories. That’s because these over-the-counter creams include the same active ingredients as prescriptions, just in a lower dose. Common vaginal creams available over-the-counter include Clotrimazole, Butoconazole, Miconazole nitrate, and Tioconazole.
Most vaginal creams come with an applicator so that you accurately apply the right dose. However, vaginal creams can sometimes be messy and leak out as you go about your day, so most experts recommend that you apply them at night. Additionally, some of these products are also available as a vaginal tablet or suppository that you place into your vagina and allow to dissolve. These may be a great option for some who want to either speed up the process or not fool with creams.
Furthermore, single-dose oral treatments with similar active ingredients to these creams and suppositories are now available. You simply take a single pill and wait for it to work its magic — which it usually does within 3 days.
Although prevention may sound like a no-brainer, many of us make mistakes that end up causing our yeast infections. However, the Mayo Clinic offers a great list of prevention methods. These suggestions include: wearing cotton underwear that fits properly, avoiding tight-fitting pantyhose, changing out of wet clothing like swimsuits and workout wear as soon as possible, avoiding scented feminine products, and skipping douching. Also, be sure that you’re wiping from front to back after every bowel movement and that you’re fully cleaning all fecal matter from yourself.
If you experience more than four yeast infections per year or battle a single yeast infection for more than two weeks, it may be time to consult your gynecologist. They can not only help you troubleshoot what may be causing these stubborn yeast infections, but they can also rule out other possible conditions.
When To Consult A Doctor
In fact, the symptoms of a yeast infection can also overlap with other possible vaginal health conditions, so it’s important to get an expert’s advice when something isn’t right. Other possible health issues that could look like a yeast infection include bacterial vaginosis, vulvitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, or hemorrhoids.
Although nobody likes dealing with yeast infections, the fact is that they’re a natural part of a woman’s life, just like our menstrual cycles and hair on our legs. With the right tools at your disposal, though, you can get your yeast back under control and knock out even the most stubborn yeast infection in no time flat.
Originally Published on Moms.com