Vaginal yeast infections are a very common problem for women
From the time they start puberty until they go through menopause, many women will experience the itching, burning and thick discharge that signal vaginal yeast infections. In fact, approximately half of those women will have more than one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime. Our experienced Grapevine and Alliance ObGyns can help with diagnosis and treatment.
What causes vaginal yeast infections?
Risk factors can increase a woman’s chances of developing infections
There are several risk factors that make a woman more susceptible to infection, including:
- Certain types of hormonal birth control
- Using vaginal sprays or douches
- Certain antibiotics, including amoxicillin or steroids
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- A weakened immune system
Typically, women with vaginal yeast infections have itching and burning of the vulva and vagina. Many women also have a thick, white discharge, sometimes described as having a “cottage cheese” texture.
It is less common for women to experience the following symptoms: pain during urination and/or sexual intercourse; swelling, burning or redness in the vulvar or vaginal area; or soreness of the vagina. If a woman has a complicated vaginal yeast infection, she may have more serious symptoms like sores, cracks or tears in the vaginal area, or more severe redness, itching or swelling.
Diagnosis and treatment
Vaginal yeast infections share many of the same symptoms with other female health problems, so women should see experienced physicians like our Grapevine and Alliance ObGyns for a diagnosis. Diagnosis usually involves a medical history, followed by a pelvic exam, during which time a physician takes a sample of vaginal secretions.
Treatment varies depending on whether a woman has an uncomplicated yeast infection or a complicated one.
Uncomplicated vaginal yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams or suppositories, or prescription antifungal medications, available in suppositories, ointments, creams or tablets. Our physicians may also prescribe an oral antifungal medication.
Complicated vaginal yeast infections are characterized by the following criteria:
- Severe symptoms
- Infections that occur four or more times in one year
- Infections that occur during pregnancy
- Infections that occur in women with uncontrolled diabetes or weakened immune systems
These yeast infections may require a long-course vaginal treatment regimen or multiple doses of prescribed oral medication.
Here are some tips to prevent infections:
- Don’t use douches, vaginal sprays or scented pads or tampons.
- Don’t wear tight pants or underwear.
- Do wear underwear with a cotton crotch.
- Don’t forget to change pads, tampons and liners often.
Our Grapevine and Alliance ObGyns can give you more advice about vaginal yeast infections. Contact us today.