A yeast infection can occur when there is an overgrowth of a fungus that lives on the body naturally called Candida Albicans. Dealing with a yeast infection is very unpleasant and uncomfortable but even worse is if you are suffering from chronic yeast infections also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis. Chronic yeast infections means you are suffering from recurring infections and are having repeated outbreaks. You would think with three quarters of women suffering from yeast infections that there would be a permanent cure by now, but many complain about ineffective treatments, and many women are not dealing with the root cause of the infection.
There are several common symptoms that may suggest you have a yeast infection. For chronic yeast infections sufferers they are only too familiar with them. Itching, soreness, burning or pain when urinating and/or when having sexual intercourse, redness, swelling and a white thick discharge like cottage cheese that is oderless, or the smell may be just yeasty.
There are many micro organisms living on us, and included in those are a controlled number of fungi called Candida Albicans. Their growth is controlled by the good bacteria also living there called Lactobacillus acidophilus. While they are in balance the small numbers of fungus can do no harm, but when something upsets that balance the fungus grows and leads to a yeast infection. Treatments usually take care of the symptoms of a yeast infection but they usually do not deal with the underlying cause, the thing that caused the imbalance in the first place. This means that some women keep triggering infections and so suffer from chronic yeast infections.
Causes include pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, birth control pills, antibiotics, diabetes, immune weakening diseases like AIDS or leukaemia, cancer treatment, prolonged use of antibiotics, diet, douching, stress, clothing and scented products. Some of these are harder to control, for example the times when a woman’s hormones are raging are some of the time she is more likely to get an infection, but not ever getting pregnant even though you want children just to avoid a yeast infection does not make a lot of sense! However there are some things in there a woman can control to lessen the chances on dealing with chronic yeast infections.
What to do
Talk to your doctor about your birth control pills as there are pills today with less hormones in them, causing less of an imbalance in the body. Stop douching! Nowadays this is really not recommended at all, ever. It is disrupting the natural flora in the vagina, washing carefully and drying thoroughly is sufficient. Any perfumed product like vaginal sprays, tampons, soaps and so on have chemicals in them that also upset the natural balance. It is a simple matter to switch to something that is not scented or to stop using them. Learn to manage your stress, find something that relaxes you whether it is something like yoga or just having time in a hot bath each night to calm down and shut out the days hardships. Getting enough sleep will help too.
You need to avoid lingering in wet clothing like sweaty exercise clothes or a swimsuit. Also wear clothing and especially underwear that is made of natural rather than synthetic fibres as they will allow the skin to breathe. Wear loose clothing more often avoid things like nylons. In terms of your diet you should avoid sugar as it feeds the yeast, also cut back on carbs, processed foods, junk foods, alcohol, foods with yeast and fungi. Eat more live yogurt or supplement with probiotics to top up the good bacteria, drink plenty of water and eat more leafy green vegetables.
Though a yeast infection is not classed as an STD it can be spread with unprotected sex so to be sure you do not enter a cycle of passing it back and forth either abstain or at least wear a condom.
You really need to visit a doctor if you are having a problem with chronic yeast infections. They will be able to do tests and check a culture sample to see if the yest has developed a resistance to anti fungal medication. The usual treatments for a yeast infection are cream or pill based, but with chronic cases these treatments last a lot longer. Other forms of treatment are suppositories and gentian violet where the vagina and vulva are painted purple with it. However unless you explore the root of the problem it is possible it will keep returning.