Vaginal yeast infection commonly known as vaginal candidiasis is one of the most popular and frustrating vaginal infection among women. Vaginal candidiasis is characterized by intense white clumpy discharge similar to cottage cheese, vaginal itching or soreness, pain during sexual intercourse and pain or discomfort when urinating. Most at times, vaginal candidiasis is mild, but some females can develop severe swelling and redness of the vagina. Before you get worried, note that it is natural to have some yeast cells (candida cells) in your vagina. It’s only when this yeast cells grow too much above the normal that you begin to have an issue. Research has it that, 3 out of 4 females will be affected by vaginal candidiasis at some point in their lifetime with 1 out of 4 having more than one infection. This sometimes continues to an extent that, no matter what you do it keeps coming back frequently. That is when you begin to hate your own vagina. If you get vaginal candidiasis frequently you may assume it cannot be cured. Vaginal candidiasis can be effectively treated with medications. Mostly, recurrent vaginal candidiasis may be the result of underlying condition or not doing something right. Below are four major things you can work on to avoid vaginal candidiasis coming back frequently into your life.
How does it work
Before menstruation occurs, there is hormonal changes that will trigger the process. This same hormonal trigger promotes the over growth of the small amount of yeast naturally present in the vagina. This usually begin at the start of menstruation.
A healthy vagina has a pH between 3.5 and 4.5. This, environment promotes the growth of good bacteria and prevents the overgrowth of infection-causing bacteria and yeast cells(they causes vaginal candidiasis). Blood on the other hand has a pH of around 7.3 so during menstruation, the blood changes the pH of the vagina temporary to alkaline which causes imbalance and promote the overgrowth of yeast cells(candida).
To prevent candidiasis during and immediately after menstruation high level of hygiene and discipline should be adhered. Follow the tips below:
- Take in diet with fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid sugary foods during this period.
- Practise high level of personal hygiene. (replacing pads every 4 hours even if your flow isn’t heavy, and change your panties at least twice a day)
- Wear cotton panties and avoid heavy and tight cloths.
Sexual intercourse is a healthy activity and should not be considered unhygienic. Regardless
of its benefit, there is still the chance of sex causing candidiasis. The semen has an alkaline pH which neutralize the acidic environment of the vagina during sex to make room for the sperm cells to swim happily to the eggs. This exposes the vagina to infections since the protective acidic power of the vagina is no more.
- Immediately wash your vagina with running water to clear of excess semen inside it. Do not wait till the next day if you had sex in the night. Remember this is not flushing of the vagina(douching)
- Change condoms when switching among vaginal, anal and oral intercourse to avoid
- Urinate to flush out bacteria to avoid contracting a urinary tract infection because during sex, bacteria can sometimes get into the urethra.
Antibiotics use is one of the conditions that can trigger vaginal candidiasis. Antibiotics are drugs purposely made to kill bacteria that cause infection all over the body. These antibiotics can also kill the good bacteria in other parts of the body such as the vagina. These good and beneficial bacteria help to prevent vaginal candidiasis infection by restricting their growth in the vagina. The moment antibiotics kills and reduce the amount of these good bacteria, vaginal candidiasis start to appear. If you consume antibiotic frequently and your candidiasis keeps coming back, now you know.
There is this misconception that antibiotics can be used to prevent candidiasis. It isn’t true, candidiasis is not a bacteria infection but fungi infection that needs fungal drugs. Before you take any antibiotic make sure it has been prescribed by your doctor and you know exactly the type of vaginal infection you are treating because taking antibiotics to cure candidiasis is a waste of time, money and can worsen your infection. Avoid taking antibiotics indiscriminately. Yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications (medication that can be purchased without prescription). However, it is advisable to do so only when it has been confirmed by a laboratory test.
How does high blood sugar cause candidiasis?
Maintaining one’s blood glucose level is a very important way of avoiding long-term health issues such as diabetes. Yeast(candida) feeds on sugar to grow and multiply. If your blood sugar is not well-controlled and becomes unreasonably high, it will cause yeast(candida) to overgrow in the vaginal environment. When this happen candidiasis will continue to hunt your vagina. This is a typical reason why some females have their candidiasis coming always after treatment. If you provide a suitable environment in high blood sugar for these organisms why won’t they overgrow always. This might be the cause of your frequent episode of candidiasis. Do you now understand why there is a saying that too much sweetened foods can cause candidiasis?
To prevent candidiasis caused by high blood sugar, you should
- Maintain your blood sugar levels to help reduce your risk of infection. Undergo frequent blood glucose screening test and if you are already diabetic undergo periodic screening for vaginal yeast infections.
- Reduce the intake of too much sugary foods than what the body can take.
Being able to adhere to the above precautions likely reduces your chances of getting vaginal candidiasis repeatedly
This blog provides information about vaginal health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult a healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes.
The article was written by Godfrey Yeboah Amoah and published at vagicarekonsult.com. Translation and voice note were done by Mrs. Nancy Boateng