What You Need to Know
You have probably heard of yeast infections but may not fully understand why they occur or how to handle them. The first step to understanding yeast infections is knowing that yeast naturally lives throughout your body, including the vagina. However, problems arise when this yeast multiplies excessively, leading to an uncomfortable and often irritating condition known as a yeast infection or candidiasis. So, how do you get a yeast infection, and what can you do about it?
Triggers That Throw Your Yeast Levels Off Balance
Candidiasis occurs when the yeast that normally resides in your body gets a little too comfortable and multiplies rapidly. Imbalanced vaginal chemistry can occur for various reasons:
- Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during a menstrual cycle
- Prescription medications, including antibiotics and corticosteroids
- A compromised immune system
- Reaction to a partner’s genital chemistry
It’s crucial to note that yeast infections can affect anyone. Although less common, men can experience redness and irritation on the penis and scrotum due to a yeast infection.
Dispelling Myths: Is a Yeast Infection an STD?
The good news—yeast infections are not sexually transmitted diseases. They’re not contagious and won’t spread to another person during sexual activity. However, sexual contact can trigger a yeast infection if your body chemistry reacts negatively to your partner’s genital yeast and bacteria.
Other Forms of Yeast Infections
While people often associate yeast infections with the vagina—which is specifically called vulvovaginal candidiasis—they can also occur in other parts of the body. For instance, a yeast infection in the mouth, throat, or tongue is called thrush. This manifests as white patches on the tongue or inside the cheeks, often accompanied by soreness and difficulty swallowing. It’s relatively common in infants and may also appear on the lips or gums.
Yeast infections can show up in other moist areas as well, like the armpits or under the breasts. These infections may cause itching, redness, and a rash, often accompanied by an unpleasant odor.
Recognizing the Signs of a Vaginal Yeast Infection
Some of the most common symptoms of vulvovaginal candidiasis include:
- Thick, white, clumpy vaginal discharge
- Itching, burning, or redness around the vaginal area
- Uncomfortable or painful sexual intercourse
- Fissures or sores in extreme cases
How to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection
Fortunately, yeast infections are often easily treatable with anti-fungal medication. Over-the-counter creams and suppositories are widely available. You can also get prescription-strength pills from your doctor. Follow all medication guidelines carefully, even if your symptoms start to improve before you’ve completed the course of treatment. It’s also best to avoid sexual activity until treatment is complete.
Choose a Trusted Healthcare Provider
If you’re still grappling with symptoms after completing over-the-counter yeast infection treatment, it may be time to seek professional help. Village Emergency Centers offers 24/7 emergency care with no wait times, staffed by board-certified doctors. With six convenient locations in the Greater Houston Area, finding rapid relief is easy. Don’t suffer in silence with a yeast infection—visit our website to find a Village near you.