Yeast infections (especially vaginal yeast infections) can be very uncomfortable due to symptoms that may get very difficult to manage, including intense itching. It is estimated that nearly 80% of all women and 50% of college women in the U.S. will experience a genital yeast infection due to Candida at least once during their lifetime.
Candida is a type of fungal infection caused by the imbalance of friendly and harmful bacteria in the intestines. The prevalence of harmful bacteria is necessary for removing the undigested portions of the food that we consume, but their population needs to be restricted. This is done by the presence of friendly bacteria that counter harmful bacteria like Candida albicans. Thoughtless use of antibiotics promoted by self-treatment without proper diagnosis, or an unhealthy excessive consumption of sugary foods and high carbohydrates, are the primarily causes for Candida. Bad hygiene, damp and moist conditions also promote Candidiasis, the overgrowth of the infectious form of Candida albicans which causes vaginitis (genital yeast infection).
Allopathic genital yeast infection treatments are easily available and usually result in a complete Candida cure. However, before treating yourself with these over-the-counter drugs, you must ensure that you actually have a yeast infection. This is especially important because self-diagnosis and treatment may prove to be highly counter- productive. First time infections require proper diagnosis, as some of the symptoms like painful urination may be indicative of an infection in the urinary tract.
Yeast is basically a fungus, and therefore anti-fungal creams are easily available over-the-counter without any prescription. Oral anti-fungal medicines like miconazole, however, should be prescribed by a doctor. If you are using oral drugs, then you may also need topical applications for relief from itching. If you are using topical creams or suppositories, make sure that you avoid the use of a tampon. Tampons will not only absorb the medicine but may also cause further irritation.
Oral medications and creams are fairly effective in providing relief from the itching, but these drugs do not cure the infection totally. As Candida is primarily a lifestyle disease, diets that do not feed harmful bacteria but rather promote friendly bacteria are long-term solutions that can prevent recurrence. Avoid foods that contain high levels of sugar or carbohydrates. Choose complex carbohydrates, as all carbohydrates are not equal. If you are diabetic, keep a regular check on your blood sugar level.
Home remedies like keeping the vaginal area clean and dry, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, and using cotton panties and panty hoses with a cotton crotch are very helpful in restricting the itch and preventing vaginitis.
The symptoms of vaginal yeast infection are non-specific and may mimic other conditions. Before you look for a Candida treatment, it is better to get the whitish discharge examined by a pathologist to confirm the prevalence of Candida. Sometime the discomfort that you feel may be due to vulvitis, an inflammation of the vulva, the external female genital organs. Vaginitis is not commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse, but still it is important that it is treated early before Candida transforms into a systemic condition and affects other important organs like the liver, lungs, heart, and brain.