Before we get into the topic, one thing you need to know – Fungi (plural form of fungus) can manifest as yeast or mould (mold) or both. So, we may be using fungus and yeast interchangeably in this article.
Vaginal yeast infection is caused by fungi. Actually due to the overgrowth of already present fungi inside the vagina. Vagina is an amazing place (from the perspective of the design of the human body we mean). Inside the vagina, bacteria and fungus are already present and they grow in balance. The bacteria keeps the fungus in check from overgrowth. When the balance is lost, yeast grows out of control and that results in vaginal yeast infection.
Vaginal yeast infection – symptoms
- Thick, white, stinky discharge
- Itching in the vagina and around it.
- Burning sensation when peeing and/or when having sex.
- Rash around the vagina.
- Inflammation around the vagina (redness and swelling).
White discharge – A little about it
White discharge is a very common thing. White discharge before and after periods is common and nothing to worry about. White (to a little light yellow in some women) discharge should not be thick and it should not stink or cause any itching. White discharge is usually a good sign and happens when the vagina is lubricated. But if the discharge is thick and smelly, you must see a gynaecologist near you.
White discharge in early pregnancy is also nothing to worry about. This happens due to the increase in estrogen levels. White vaginal discharge is also called Leucorrhea. White discharge in early pregnancy is usually thin and may not stink. Even if it stinks, it shouldn’t be strong, if you are healthy. You need not think about white discharge treatment as long as it is not cloudy (thick) and doesn’t smell bad.
Is white discharge before period a sign of pregnancy?
- White discharge is not a sign of pregnancy, whether it is before or after a period. If you had unprotected sex and missed your period, get a home pregnancy test kit or see your gynaecologist.
Learn more about vaginal discharge – different colours and what they indicate.
What happens when vaginal infection goes bad?
- You will see multiple episodes of vaginal infections every year.
- Redness and swelling in and around the vagina will be severe and the skin around the vagina may look cracked.
- The infection may be caused by a different variant of the fungus.
- It can indicate the presence of sugar in blood, indicating you are most likely diabetic.
- Your immune system is very weak and unable to fight off infection.
Vaginal yeast infection – Causes
Simply putting, the unchecked growth of fungi in the vagina causes vaginal yeast infection. ‘Candida Albicans’ is the name of the fungus that is most often responsible for vaginal infection. The overgrowth of yeast in vagina can be due to:
- Medication or antibiotics that are used for a different condition. Some medicines can destroy bacteria inside the vagina and that leads to unchecked growth of fungus.
- Pregnancy – a period when there is an imbalance of hormones in the body.
- Contraceptives or birth control hormones by any means, can disrupt the hormone balance and the balance of microbes inside the vagina.
There are other fungus that can cause vaginal infection and usually, treating such vaginal infections is relatively difficult.
Vaginal yeast infection – treatment
In case of mild infection
A course of antifungal medicines usually for a period of five to seven days will be prescribed. Vaginal yeast infection medicines include miconazole and terconazole. Single dose oral medicines such as fluconazole may be prescribed.
In case of severe and recurring vaginal infection
- A repeating course of antifungal medication will be provided. Each prescription will last for a couple of weeks that may have to be repeated every few months.
- Vaginal medication such as boric acid – a capsule that has to be inserted into the vagina. Taking this medication by mouth can be fatal.