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Vaginal Yeast Infection

Intro

Typically, a vaginal yeast infection is not a life-threatening condition. However, a woman with symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection should see her doctor to rule out other, more serious infections or diseases that may cause or be mistaken for a yeast infection. Anyone with a weakened immune system   should contact a doctor upon experiencing any new symptoms. Vaginal yeast infections may cause unpleasant itching, but they should not cause pain. Women experiencing pain should contact their doctor. In addition, a woman with symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection should contact her doctor if she notices the following:

  • Foul-smelling or yellow vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discharge that lasts for more than a week
  • Bloody discharge
  • Increased urination
  • Stomach or back pain that accompanies vaginal discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Fever  
  • If symptoms diminish but return within two months
  • If symptoms are not fully relieved with therapy
Self-Care at Home

For confirmed vaginal yeast infections, over-the-counter medications are available that are usually effective in treating them. The cure rates associated with the nonprescription drugs are about 75-90%. However, women who do not have a vaginal yeast infection account for two thirds of all yeast-infection remedies purchased in stores. By using these medications, these women may increase their likelihood of developing a yeast infection that is resistant to future treatment.

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Medications to treat vaginal yeast infections come in a variety of forms, including oral medications, vaginal suppositories, and creams. Suppositories are inserted into the vagina. Cream medications are massaged into the vagina and surrounding tissues. Most candidal infections that are treated at home with over-the-counter or prescription medications clear within a week. People with a weakened immune system should consult their doctor before attempting home-care medications or remedies, as prolonged treatment times may be recommended.

Women who experience increased irritation should immediately discontinue the medication. Pregnant   women should consult their doctor before using any of these medications. Women whose symptoms last more than one week after treatment should consult their doctor to treat a severe infection or rule out other types of infections or underlying causes.

Prevention

The following are guidelines women should follow to help prevent the likelihood of developing a vaginal yeast infection:

  • Keep the vaginal area dry, especially after a shower.
  • Wipe from front to rear after using the toilet.
  • Wear looser-fitting cotton underwear, which help to keep the vaginal area dry and may reduce irritation.
  • After swimming, change out of a wet bathing suit.
  • Avoid chemical irritants in deodorant tampons. Do not use douches or feminine hygiene products. Regular bathing is usually adequate to cleanse the vagina.
Outlook

Vaginal yeast infections, under normal circumstances, are usually treatable with over-the-counter medications. However, many women mistake other conditions for vaginal yeast infections, and these other conditions cannot be treated with medications for yeast infection. Women, especially those with immune systems problems, should always consult their doctor upon experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection.

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