What is a vaginal yeast infection? Yeast is a fungus that typically lives in the vaginal area in small numbers. A vaginal yeast infection suggests that too many yeast cells are growing in the vaginal area. These infections are typical. Although they can bother you a lot, they are not normally major. And treatment is simple.
A healthy vaginal area has lots of bacteria and a little number of yeast cells. The most typical bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, aid keep other organisms-like the yeast-under control. When something occurs to change the balance of these organisms, yeast can grow too much and cause symptoms. Taking antibiotics sometimes causes this imbalance. The high estrogen levels triggered by pregnancy or hormone therapy can also cause it. So can particular health problems, like diabetes or HIV infection.
Certain types of bacteria that live naturally in the vaginal area normally keep C albicans from growing out of control. If the balance of these microorganisms ends up being upset, C albicans might be allowed to grow uncontrollably and cause symptoms. Using certain medications including antibiotics, changes in hormone levels, or certain diseases are examples of factors that can permit a vaginal yeast infection to establish.
High Estrogen Levels
Yeast infections are more common in women with an increased estrogen level. This can consist of women who are pregnant, or those who are taking high-dose estrogen contraceptive pill or estrogen hormone therapy.
The itching and burning caused by a yeast infection is usually brought on by an overgrowth of Candida, a fungus that naturally lives in the vagina. During pregnancy, increased levels of estrogen and progesterone assistance develop the sort of environment in which yeast can grow. Other causes of yeast infections consist of taking antibiotics and making love, both of which can interrupt the natural pH in your vagina. You doctor can diagnose a yeast infection with an easy vaginal culture; she inserts a cotton swab, collects a sample of your discharge, and looks at it under a microscope.
Vaginal infections are the most commonly reported condition among women with HIV/AIDS. Vaginal yeast infections are the most typical initial manifestation of HIV/AIDS in women. Lots of types of vaginal infections are twice as typical in women who have HIV than in women who are HIV-negative. The risk for cervical cancer is 30 times greater for HIV-infected women who are also infected with HPV. Thankfully, most vaginal infections and associated complications can be spotted through regular Pap smears. Pap tests include collecting a small tissue sample from the cervix that is examined under a microscope for an infection or abnormality.
Although there is some debate about how often HIV-infected women must get Pap smears, it is usually suggested that they have them every 6 months. If a Pap smear is irregular, it should be repeated in 3 months. Without regular Pap smears, many vaginal infections go unnoticed until they become major. In one research study, half of HIV-infected women without any symptoms did really have a vaginal infection. Regular Pap smears are essential.