According to data provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, nearly 75% of all adult American women have had at least one vaginal yeast infection in her lifetime. This same data shows that of this 75%, 40% or more will suffer from two or more cases of this type of infection.
A vaginal yeast infection, also referred to as “Candidiasis”, is an overgrowth of Candida yeast which is caused when the body’s levels of friendly bacteria drop too low to keep the yeast in check. This can occur when your immune system is compromised due to fatigue, stress, an unbalanced diet, illness or other reasons. Prolonged use of antibiotics and corticosteroids can increase your risk of developing a vaginal yeast infection.
Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, red, irritated skin around the vagina, pain when urinating and vaginal pain during sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, these same symptoms are shared by other, more serious gynecologic problems including bacterial vaginosis: a sexually transmitted infection. Many times, women will try to treat their symptoms with an over-the-counter medication designed to treat vaginal yeast infections, without first obtaining a proper diagnosis. Only when this treatment fails do they seek attention from their doctor.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection, it is a good idea to visit your OBGYN or other health care provider. This will enable your doctor to make a proper diagnosis and to rule out other, more serious issues. Once your condition has been accurately diagnosed, your doctor can prescribe the most appropriate treatment to deal with your symptoms and to prevent more serious health problems from occurring in the future.