A vaginal yeast infection is a type of vaginal infection that is caused by a fungus. It occurs when there is an overgrowth of this fungus — yeast — something that then causes symptoms like a cottage-cheese-like vaginal discharge, a never-ending itching urge and reddening of the vaginal walls.
Yeast cells in a healthy vagina
To be clear, presence of the yeast in a vagina doesn’t always lead to a yeast infection. In fact, according to WebMD, yeast cells exist in the vaginas of most healthy women. What this means is that it is possible for you to have yeast cells in your vagina without experiencing any of the symptoms of candida yeast infections. It is only when the growth of these cells gets out of control that one is said to be having a vaginal yeast infection.
Causes of a vaginal yeast infection (vaginal thrush)
According to WebMD, there are several things that can cause yeast growth to get out of control.
Antibiotics cause vaginal yeast infections
Taking antibiotics can increase the rate at which yeast cells multiply. This is because antibiotics kill all bacteria in the body. They do not discriminate. Unfortunately for us, useful bacteria also fall victim to this purge. As a result, some of the bacteria that help to keep yeast cell populations in check also die. And without these bacteria, yeast growth gets out of control. This is what then leads to vaginal yeast infection symptoms such as irritation, experiencing pain when having sex and finding it painful when trying to urinate.
Douching and use of scented pads cause candida yeast infections
If you are in the habit of douching or using scented pads or tampons, you are also likely to experience candida yeast infection symptoms. This is because when you do either of these things, you disrupt the delicate and healthy balance that exists in your vagina. In a bid to clean up your vagina, you end up killing useful bacteria. The chemicals used to scent your tampons or pads can also have the same effect. As a result, yeast cells will overrun your vaginal and cervical area. You will then start experiencing the discomfort that is usually associated with candida infections.
Periods cause vaginal candida infections
However, there are times when the things that cause yeast infections are out of our control. Take the hormonal fluctuations that take place during your periods or those that happen during a pregnancy. These fluctuations cause fluctuations in the overall pH levels of your vagina. They can also suppress your immune system. And can also increase the glycogen — sugar — levels of the cells lining your vagina. All these things create an environment that is conducive for yeast growth. They will therefore increase the risks of getting a candida yeast infection.
Medical conditions increase the risks of yeast infections
Since people with diabetes usually have a hard time controlling their blood sugar levels, they are usually susceptible to yeast infection episodes. In fact, they tend to be prone to cases of recurring vaginal yeast infections.
Another way through which you can get a yeast infection is by having a weakened immune system. A good example is when one is suffering from HIV. This infection simply destroys the immune system. It renders the body immune system to be too weak to defend against any unwanted organisms. And when the body isn’t strong enough to defend against bacteria and fungi, attacks are unavoidable.
Different names of vaginal yeast infections
A vaginal yeast infection goes by different names. It is sometimes referred to as vaginal thrush. Candida yeast infection also works. And so does candida albicans infection. If you want to get technical, then the words “yeast vaginitis”, “candidal vaginitis” and “candidal vulvovaginitis” will also work. If you hear any of these names, it is a vaginal yeast infection that is being talked about.
Is a yeast infection a sexually transmitted infection?
Another question that most people ask when curious about ‘what is a yeast infection’ is whether it is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). To answer this question, we have to ask: can a yeast infection be transmitted through sexual intercourse? The answer is: YES.
Then, is it an STI or an STD? According to Mayo Clinic, the answer is NO. Why? Because people can have yeast infections without having had sex. Celibate people can get a vagina candida infection. A virgin can also get this infection. This is because yeast cells exist naturally in the vagina. One is said to have a yeast infection only when there is an overgrowth of these cells. So, strictly speaking, a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection.
If you want to learn more about candida vaginal yeast infections, you will find an exhaustive article here. But if what you are looking is for a way to get rid of your yeast infection, then download this guide.