Vaginal yeast infection or candidiasis is a disease caused by fungus or yeast and is a problem in the female sex organs that is quite common at all ages, both teenagers and adults. Even though the symptoms are similar, vaginal yeast infections are not classified as a type of sexually transmitted infection (STI), but can be spread through sexual contact.
However, when the balance of bacteria and yeast changes, some of the yeast cells can multiply, resulting in itching, bruising, and irritation. Vaginal yeast infections can cause itching and burning in the vagina. This situation can arise for various reasons, starting from the effects of some drugs to certain diseases. Although usually harmless, yeast infections in the vagina can get worse if not treated properly.
Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
A vaginal yeast infection is accompanied by a variety of signs in the intimate organs, especially the outer vagina or vulva. Here are some of the signs:
- Severe itching in the vagina, especially the outer side of the vagina
- Pain or burning when urinating or having sex
- Pussy lips look red and bruised
- Lumpy vaginal discharge, but not smelly
- Hurts when urinating
- Pain during intercourse
The signs of a vaginal yeast infection can be different, some only experience one symptom and it's not that bad, there is also the opposite. In conditions that are severe enough, vaginal yeast infections can cause sores on the skin around the vagina.
Fungal Infection Causes
The main cause of vaginal yeast infection is fungus Candida albicans. Under normal circumstances, this fungus lives in the vagina and various other places in the body, such as the mouth, digestive tract, and skin, without causing health problems. However, under certain conditions, Candida fungi can grow and develop rapidly. When overgrown, the fungus can cause infection and cause symptoms. This situation can be caused by various things, including:
- The effects of some drugs, such as antibiotics, estrogen hormone therapy, and birth control pills
- Hormone shifts during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause
- Unmonitored diabetes
- The immune system is less strong, for example due to the effects of chemotherapy, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS
- Overweight or obesity
- Vaginal douching, namely the process of cleaning the inside of the vagina by spraying a special washing liquid
- Women's intimate organs are often wet or damp, for example due to wearing underwear that is very tight and cannot absorb sweat
- Use of contraceptives
How to Treat and Prevention Steps
There are several types of treatment that can be given to treat vaginal yeast infections, namely:
- Antifungal medications, such as fluconazole and itraconazole
- Topical antifungal medications in the form of creams, ointments, liquids, or vaginal tablets, for example miconazole, clotrimazole, nystatin, sulfanilamide, and boric acid
Antifungal drugs, whether taken or smeared, generally need to be used for several weeks or months even though the signs you feel are getting better. This aims to ensure that the growth of yeast that causes infection in the vagina has been monitored. In the meantime, consumption of antihistamines is generally stopped if complaints of itching in the vagina have decreased.
In addition to taking treatment efforts, you must also take steps to prevent the fungal infection from being passed on to other people or prevent the infection from recurring. To prevent vaginal yeast infections from continuing, there are ways you can do them, namely:
- Use underwear that can absorb sweat well, for example underwear with cotton.
- Avoid wearing tight pants or underwear.
- Avoid using tampons or pads over time, especially scented ones.
- Avoid excessive use of cleaning fluids for the female area.
- Cleaning the vagina properly, namely cleaning the vagina from the vaginal lips towards the anus with clean water, then dry it.
- Stay away from risky sexual intercourse, for example sexual intercourse without a condom or changing partners frequently.
If you experience signs of a vaginal yeast infection or signs that you feel are not getting better and are actually getting worse, immediately check with your doctor to get the right treatment.