A vaginal yeast infection means that there are too many yeast cells growing in the vagina. Yeast cells are common boat in the vaginal area and the lower intestine. Once the yeast grows out of control it become a problem which results as an infection. Although these in sections are bothersome they are not usually serious.
Most yeast infections are cause by a type of yeast called Candida albicans. In a healthy vagina there are many bacteria and a small number of yeast cells. The most common bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, help to keep other organisms, like yeast, under control. When something happens to change the balance of these organisms, or the environment, in the vaginal vault, the yeast will begin to grow out of control.
Things like taking antibiotics or high dose estrogen caused by pregnancy or hormone replacement therapy can cause this imbalance in the vaginal vault. Certain other problems such as diabetes or HIV infections can also cause this imbalance in the body.
A yeast infection will cause itching or soreness in the vagina and sometimes pain or burning when you urinate or have sex. Some women will have a white discharge that looks a little like cottage cheese but has no odor. These symptoms are more likely to occur during the week before at the menstrual period.
When these symptoms send a woman to her physician he will likely take a thorough medical history and physical. However, these are often not enough to make it conclusive diagnosis of a yeast infection. During a vaginal exam your physician will look for an irritated vagina and vaginal area, evidence of intense itching and will ask about painful or burning urination as well as painful intercourse.
To help determine the cause of a vaginal infection or your occasion the doctor will also ask the woman about her symptoms and performed a healthy examination. The doctor may want to examine a woman’s urine and a sample of the vaginal discharge. Before seeing the doctor sexual intercourse in douching should be avoided for at least one to two days to overweight complicating the diagnosis.
The physician will ask questions about a previous history of over-the-counter medications, douching products, current medications being taken, whether detergents or soaps were changed recently and if the woman generally wears tight clothes. During the pelvic exam the doctor may take culture swabs of the vaginal discharge to determine if the infection is fungal, bacterial, or protozoan.
Examination of the swap under a microscope is the simplest and least costly method used for diagnosis but can be negative in up to 50% of women who do have a yeast infection. This is called a false negative.
In some cases the doctor may do a Pap smear to rule out the possibility of cervical cancer and may recommend colposcopy or biopsy if the survey appears abnormal. Blood tests may be used looking for antibodies associated with Candida and is normally used only to determine if a whole body systemic infection has developed.
Women who suspect they may have a vaginal yeast infection should seek the advice and care of their physician in order to prevent the possibility of a systemic infection which will lead to further negative impact on other organ systems of the body.
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