By: Beth Walsh for Uterus1
Only one in every four women who seeks treatment for persistent yeast infections actually has one, according to findings from a study led by Dr. Susan Hoffstetter, co-director of the SLUCare Vulvar and Vaginal Disease Clinic at Saint Louis University.
|Be sure to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis of a yeast infection. If you treat yourself with an over-the-counter product and you don’t actually have a yeast infection, the delay in treatment can cause complications.|
Only use non-prescription medication if you are familiar with yeast infection symptoms from past experience. If your symptoms don’t clear up within a week, see your doctor.
Don’t ignore your symptoms. An untreated yeast infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition which can scar the fallopian tubes and cause infertility. In pregnant women, a yeast infection can result in premature delivery and low birth weight.
By reviewing the medical records of 150 women visiting the clinic for the first time who reported persistent yeast infections, Hoffstetter and her colleagues found that only 26 percent were infected with Candida, the fungus responsible for yeast infections.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include: thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge
vaginal itching and burning
pain or discomfort with urination or sexual intercourse
vulvular redness or irritation
Women frequently treat suspected yeast infections themselves with over-the-counter medications, but this not only doesn’t help the current problem, it can cause other problems and aid in establishing Candida strains that are drug-resistant. Other causes of vaginal itching can include sexually transmitted infections, dry skin, or inflammation. These problems won’t respond to anti-fungal medicines and could even be aggravated by these products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80 percent of all women will experience a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lives.
Follow these tips to prevent yeast infections:Don't wear tight-fitting clothes that retain heat and trap moisture.
Wear cotton panties rather than those made of nylon and lycra.
Use your blow dryer on a low, cool setting to help dry your genital area after you bathe or shower and before getting dressed.
Yeast is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal tract. Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to prevent transferring yeast to the vaginal area.
Change out of wet swimsuits and other damp clothes as soon as you can.
Don’t douche. The vagina has a natural protective mucous that douching can wash away, leaving women more susceptible to vaginal infections.