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What is Yeast Vaginitis?

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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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The term vaginitis denotes any inflammation occurring in the vagina caused by organisms such as bacteria, protozoans, and fungi or yeasts. Yeast vaginitis is, therefore, an inflammation in women's vagina caused by an infection with yeast or fungi. It is also known as candidiasis and candida yeast vaginitis. Candida albicans or C. albicans is the type of fungi that frequently causes this type of infection, although other species of candida which can cause yeast vaginitis less often include C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata, among many others.

Yeast vaginitis is characterized by redness and sensations of pain, burning, and itching in the vagina, accompanied by small amounts of white, cheesy discharges which are not foul-smelling. Other symptoms include pain during urination and light bleeding from the vagina. It can also make sexual intercourse a painful experience.

The majority of women of reproductive age are susceptible to yeast vaginitis. Infection is rare before the onset of first menstruation and after menopause. This is because yeasts thrive in moist and warm areas like the vagina, mouth, and skin folds. Some healthy women often harbor yeasts in their genital areas in small numbers but without any manifestations of infection. Changes in the normal environment of the genital tract of women can often lead to growth of yeasts in the area.

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Vaginitis yeast infections mostly occur when the normal bacteria in the vagina are outnumbered by the presence of yeasts. Taking medications like steroids and antibiotics predisposes some women to infection with Candida albicans. Steroids often suppress the immune response of the body, leading to the rapid growth of yeast. Taking antibiotics for other illnesses, like a respiratory tract infection, can also kill normal bacteria in the genitals, resulting in the overgrowth of yeast.

Hormonal changes brought about by oral contraceptive drugs and during pregnancy, as well as uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, can all result in yeast infection. Other factors predisposing women to the development of yeast vaginitis include wearing tight fitting clothing, antibacterial soaps, some hygiene products, and douches. Men may experience irritation in the penis after having sex with an infected woman, but the condition is generally not spread through sexual contact.

Physicians can see the presence of yeast under a microscope after taking a sample specimen from the vagina. Yeast vaginitis treatment frequently includes using prescribed oral antifungal medications and topical creams. There are also over-the-counter topical creams available in most pharmacies, but women are encouraged to seek medical advise first as there are other causes of vaginitis which need a different method of treatment.

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