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The Ultimate Guide to Yeast Infections
If you’re a woman who has experienced the frustration, embarrassment and inconvenience of a yeast infection, you are not alone. More than 3 out of every 4 women will experience at least one yeast infection in her lifetime. For those who have dealt with the intense itching, burning and vaginal irritation, you know once is enough. You’ve probably even wondered how you can avoid developing another. The best way to prevent a yeast infection is to educate yourself. Read below to learn more about yeast infections and how to prevent them from happening to you.
What Is a Yeast Infection?
The term yeast infection can be used to refer to the general overgrowth of yeast fungus in any part of the body. However, in most cases, yeast infection is referring to vaginal yeast infections, also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Yeast is a fungus which occurs naturally in the body in small amounts. Areas such as the intestines and vagina carry yeast, but it is balanced out by other microbes and bacteria which keep the environment of the vagina healthy and balanced. When an imbalance occurs due to factors such as a depressed immune system, certain medications, or hormonal fluctuations, yeast can grow in excess and cause symptoms such as itching and redness. The effects of an overgrowth of yeast are hard to miss. Though the irritation can be almost unbearable, the infection itself is not serious and can be treated fairly easily.
Yeast infections are more common in females after the onset of puberty and are less likely to occur in menopausal women. Men can contract yeast infections in their penis, though it is not as common. Even more rare are yeast infections which impact other parts of the body such as the mouth, anus, and blood stream.
What Causes a Yeast Infection?
The fungus which can cause yeast infections is called Candida. There are over 20 different strains of Candida which can cause a vaginal yeast infection; however, the most common is called Candida albicans. Yeast infections occur after the overgrowth of this yeast due to several different factors including:
- Taking antibiotics
- High estrogen levels during menstruation, pregnancy, or if taking birth control pills/hormonal therapy
- Weakened immune system
- Diabetes or uncontrolled, elevated levels of blood sugar levels
Exposure during sex can also lead to a yeast infection. Although a yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, exposure during sexual contact can occur, so protection such as condoms and dental dams should be used to prevent exposure and development of yeast infection in the vagina, mouth or anus.
What Are the Symptoms of a Yeast Infection?
It is highly doubtful anyone could ignore the signs of a yeast infection indefinitely. The symptoms range from mild to severe, but in any case they are difficult to overlook. Symptoms include:
- Incessant and severe vaginal itching
- Burning, redness and irritation of the outer vagina
- Thick, white and sometimes clumpy discharge which may be odorless or smells of baked bread
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain or burning while urinating or when urine comes into contact with the skin
Some of the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection are similar to other vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis or some other sexually transmitted infections. It is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If you mistake your symptoms for a yeast infection and you actually have something more serious, delaying treatment may lead to complications, especially if you are pregnant.
Many of the symptoms of a yeast infection may occur one week before your monthly period and resolve when menstruation is complete. During menstruation, the vaginal pH is too high for yeast cells to grow. Additionally, irritation of the vagina may occur as an allergic reaction to perfumes or soaps. Both instances highlight the importance of an accurate diagnosis.
How to Diagnose a Yeast Infection
You probably read earlier that a yeast infection is not a serious infection, especially when compared with other vaginal infections which may be more challenging to treat; nevertheless, getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan is still important.
Diagnosing a yeast infection can be a bit tricky. Usually, a health history is taken and a pelvic exam is performed. Your healthcare professional will swab the inside of the vagina. The swab may be looked at under a microscope to see if there is an abnormal number of yeast cells, or the culture may be used to see if it grows an abnormally high number of yeast cells over a few days. Since Candida occur naturally in the body, an overgrowth may not always be a confirmation. Your healthcare professional will take into account the presence of other symptoms as well in formulating an accurate diagnosis.
If you have more than four yeast infections per year, this is considered a chronic condition. At this point, other tests may be done to find out the underlying cause of the recurrence. A common cause for recurring infections is undiagnosed diabetes. People with diabetes have higher blood sugar levels, and yeast thrive on sugar. Also, it has been shown that women with diabetes often have yeast infections which are an overgrowth of the less common Candida glabrata. Many of the first-line treatments are most effective for yeast infections caused by Candida albicans. Accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause could help ensure other treatment methods are explored if traditional treatments are not working.
One of the traditional yeast infection remedies is antifungal medications. There are several options including the prescription pill fluconazole. Fluconazole is commonly given as a one-dose treatment. This medication can also be used to treat yeast infections in other places in the body. Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal cream, ointment or suppositories are another option. The most commonly used are the -azoles (clotrimazole, miconazole Monistat-3). Treatment can last one, three or seven days.
Although somewhat inconvenient, vaginal antifungal medications have less side effects than antifungal oral medications, since the medication is not entering your entire system and is only directly focused on the genital area. Side effects from one dose of the pill are not likely to occur, but can include nausea and headaches.
If your infection does not clear after the standard treatment or you have recurring infections throughout the year, you have chronic yeast infections. These require a longer or more potent course of therapy. If you are sexually active, most likely your partner will not need to be treated, especially if your partner is a male. However, for those with chronic yeast infections the doctor may suggest treating the partner and using protection. Note that vaginal treatments for yeast infection may compromise the integrity of latex condoms and make them less reliable. This may put you at risk for pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections, so caution is recommended.
Yeast Infection Home Remedies
Many naturalistas prefer the use of homemade products and natural remedies for feminine care. There are several options which can help alleviate the symptoms of yeast infection. Natural solutions should not be used if:
- You are not sure that you have a yeast infection. If it is your first time experiencing these symptoms, see the doctor first before trying home remedies.
- You have an allergy to any of the products mentioned.
- You have recurring yeast infections or have had yeast infection symptoms for a prolonged amount of time. In this case, consult the doctor for treatment options for chronic yeast infections.
- You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Always consult with a physician to make sure you are not experiencing any other infection and that the natural remedies will not cause harm to the baby or complications to your pregnancy.
If you do not fit any of the conditions listed above, you may want to try tending to your ailment with home remedies for yeast infections. These methods may be helpful to you in treating your common yeast infection symptoms and restoring vaginal health:
Yogurt — Natural, unsweetened yogurt with cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus has been touted as gentle and one of several Yeast Infection Home Remedies. Eating the yogurt daily can help to provide the probiotics your body needs to balance out the growth of yeast. Some women apply yogurt directly to the vaginal area as well. If you do place the yogurt directly onto the vagina to sooth and treat your itching and redness, be sure to rinse thoroughly afterward.
Boric acid capsules — Boric acid has been used to treat yeast infections which are stubborn and do not respond to regular antifungal medications. One group which may benefit from treating with boric acid capsules are women with diabetes who do not respond to regular antifungal medications. This may be due to the fact that diabetes-related yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida glabrata and not Candida albicans. Most traditional medications are mostly effective to fight yeast infections caused by Candida albicans. Boric acid capsules placed in the vagina at bedtime for 7-10 days have been shown to help clear these more stubborn infections and also may be a more natural alternative. Boric acid capsules should not be used by women who are pregnant.
Garlic — Garlic is a superfood which is not only great as a seasoning, but can be used for its antifungal and antiviral properties as well. Crushed garlic contains allicin and ajoene and many women have experienced benefits from using garlic on the vagina for yeast infections. There are a couple of precautions with garlic. The first is that it can cause irritation or burning to the vaginal membranes, so it should not be used if you have sensitive skin. Second, it can impact the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives because the garlic may decrease the rate at which the hormone estrogen is broken down.
Tips to Prevent a Yeast Infection
Once you are yeast infection-free it is important that you maintain certain habits to continue to maintain a healthy vagina. Here are some preventative measures you can take to avoid the recurrence of a yeast infection:
- Wear dry, loose clothing. Avoid lounging around in wet clothes such as swimsuits or damp gym clothes. Change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Also avoid wearing tight clothing which doesn’t allow your vagina to breathe. Yeast loves the warm and moist environments. Try wearing cotton or silk underwear which absorb moisture and keep you dry. Synthetic materials keep mositure on your skin.
- Practice good personal hygiene. Keep the area clean. Wash your clothing, sheets and towels in hot water and even add some vinegar to ensure you are destroying all of the yeast organisms.
- Avoid using perfumed feminine products such as scented tampons, panty liners and pads. These perfumed products can cause vaginal irritation and pH imbalances.
- Do not douche. Douching may seem like a good idea, but as you wash away all the bad bacteria, you are also washing away the good bacteria. If done often enough, this can lead to a pH imbalance and potential yeast infection.
Your vaginal health is important for your overall health. Take care of your vagina just as you would any other part of your body. If you feel you are experiencing abnormal symptoms such as the ones described above, the best thing to do is to see your doctor. If you have a yeast infection it may be simple to treat, but it is important you are taking precautions to avoid recurring infections in the future.
Other questions regarding yeast infections:
A Helpful Guide to Cellulite
What Is Cellulite?
While it may sound like a serious condition that needs medical intervention to treat, let us understand cellulite is simply fat beneath the surface of the skin. There is nothing special about it, and you can get rid of it like any other type of fat in your body. It has a lumpy look to it, but this is only because the fat is pushing against the connective tissue. This can cause the skin above the fat to push upwards and take on that characteristic dimpled, cottage cheese appearance. You may need an anti cellulite treatment.
It’s seen as undesirable, but you don’t have to worry about it being harmful. The most problematic issue with cellulite is that it makes you look less than your best in a swimsuit. It affects people of any size — thin or obese — fairly and equally. Most people want to get rid of it because of the way it looks, but it’s not considered a condition that necessitates medical intervention. It’s important to realize that having cellulite is not necessarily due to your diet or exercise regimen.
There are several things you can do to reduce cellulite but they take some time. Don’t expect overnight results, and you’ll be able to combat your cellulite in a healthy way that doesn’t cause lasting harm to your body.
Affected Body Parts
Cellulite can appear in virtually any area of the body where there is fat. However, it’s most commonly found in the thighs and buttocks. Sometimes, you’ll also find it underneath the arms. Most commonly, it begins to occur after puberty.
Causes of Cellulite
It’s crucial to understand that while being overweight can cause cellulite, it’s not necessarily the reason you have it. Thin people can get cellulite just as easily. Losing weight can help reduce cellulite if you have it, but it’s not the only cause.
Females are at higher risk of getting cellulite. There may also be genetic components. Women who have cellulite also tend to have siblings and parents who also have it.
Though poor diet is not the cause of cellulite, it may be a contributing factor. If you’re not getting the proper nutrients, you may be at greater risk of getting cellulite. It’s important to have a healthy, well-rounded diet. There are many nutrients the body needs on a daily basis to repair itself. When you go on fad diets or extreme fasts to lose weight the issue of cellulite can become more pronounced.
A slow metabolism can also cause cellulite. Spicy foods have been shown to help increase your metabolism. Additionally, if you’re not taking in enough calories for your body, you may actually put on weight. It seems counter-intuitive, and we have all been trained to believe that cutting calories will result in weight loss. However, an important caveat is that if you’re not getting enough calories, your metabolism will slow down and cause you to start to put on weight. This is why many basal metabolic rate calculators ask for your age since the metabolism naturally slows as you grow older.
Physical activity is also important to maintaining low levels of cellulite. When you exercise, you’re helping your body out by toning and increasing your muscle mass. Increased muscle mass means you’ll burn more calories naturally throughout the day. It can also help strengthen your tendons and ligaments. This results in a decreased amount of cellulite.
Hormone changes and the thickness and color of your skin may have an effect on your levels of cellulite. Hormones can wreak havoc on your body, and it’s the reason that women tend to have more issues with cellulite as their hormone levels can fluctuate more rapidly. Skin color and thickness can also have an effect — at least visually. Darker skin tends to hide cellulite better. Thicker skin also makes it less pronounced.
Finally, if you’re dehydrated, this can increase the levels of cellulite. Your body needs water for virtually everything it does. When you don’t get the right amount of water, you’ll end up putting on more cellulite. Simply drinking enough water can help to reduce your chances of putting on cellulite, and it can also help you feel full at the end of the day. Often, when our body feels empty we try to fill it with food when what it really needs is water.
Looking for the Best Cellulite Treatment?
There are several treatment options available on the market to take care of cellulite. However, many of these treatment options have not proven to be effective. Despite the numerous commercial products that purport to get rid of cellulite, there are very few that actually work. Some products might provide temporary results, but the results rarely last. Learning about the best cellulite treatment options can help you to become a more savvy consumer and avoid many of the scams that exist.
Creams claim that they can be used to dissolve the fat and smooth out the skin which supposedly reduces the look of cellulite. Despite the fact that many of these creams contain pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, there is no real evidence to support that these creams actually work. In fact, some of the creams can even cause more harm than good.
In the instances where they do work, it seems that the creams work to narrow the blood vessels. This process forces water from the skin, and it could be a serious issue for people who have circulatory issues to begin with. Some of the ingredients used in the cream can also cause breakouts, and may cause allergic reactions.
Exercise is one of the few treatment options that really works. Exercise helps to tone the muscles, reduce body fat and improve the overall look of the skin. While exercise works best for people who are already overweight, it can also be useful for people who are thin. A person who is too thin may not have proper muscle mass. By introducing moderate exercise, it is possible to reduce the amount of cellulite and maintain a healthy look.
Start within your limits and gradually increase your level of exercise. Begin by walking if that’s all you can handle. Just make sure you’re getting about 30 minutes of exercise per day to help ward off and reduce cellulite. Exercise helps keep your body in good working order, and it can also help to improve your mood and overall sense of self.
Cellulite Home Remedies
The concept that cellulite is caused by toxins in the body has no real basis in science. The body has been shown to be remarkably good at removing toxins on its own. When people go on detox diets, they tend to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. While the body can exist with less nutrition, it’s not optimal for the best health.
There are lots of gimmicks out there. Drinking apple cider vinegar can help people who are overweight to reduce their weight. However, there is no evidence that applying it in a mixture to the outside of your body will help. The same goes for ginkgo biloba. There may be studies that show it can improve circulation, but this in itself won’t get rid of cellulite.
The best way to ensure that you’re doing your body a favor is to get a mix of foods in your diet. Make sure to get foods from every color of the rainbow, and avoid sticking to just one or two of your favorite foods. The best home remedy that exists for getting rid of cellulite is the simple act of eating well. When you eat well, the body is able to perform at its best and you’ll enjoy a healthier body.
Drinking more green tea, getting the right nutrients and drinking more water are all methods that can help give you more energy. This can result in a decrease of cellulite, but it won’t happen overnight.
Make sure your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and get the right amount of protein for your body weight. The amount of protein a human needs to maintain a healthy body weight is based on the overall weight and not the age of the person.
Keep your protein intake between 0.66 and 0.80 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For the average 150-pound man or woman, that’s about 54 grams of protein. A 7-ounce steak is enough to fulfill that requirement, but try to find options that are lower in saturated fat. For example, a chicken breast and a glass of milk would get you very close to your target protein goals.
Anti Cellulite Treatment, A Laser
Laser treatment is an effective Anti Cellulite Treatment. The FDA has approved the use of a device that uses laser energy to treat cellulite. The device works by melting fat underneath the skin. This can help to break up the bands of cellulite that have formed and it can stimulate the production of collagen. High levels of collagen can help keep your skin looking young and smooth.
The procedure is a safe cellulite remedy, but finding a doctor that specializes in the treatment may be difficult. As the treatment becomes more popular, it will become a more useful method of treating cellulite. However, once the cellulite has been removed, it’s up to the patient to continue maintaining an optimal level of health. In this way, it’s possible to avoid putting the cellulite back on.
While these treatment methods may make you feel better after the treatment, they haven’t been shown to definitely treat cellulite. Most of the improved appearance from a massage is temporary. A massage can reduce the dimpling appearance on the skin, but ultimately these results are going to be short-lived.
There is no indication that any type of massage or spa treatment is an effective cellulite buttocks treatment. These treatments appear to work only because they remove excess fluid, and this can have a temporary effect on the look of the skin.
Ultrasound machines direct high energy waves to the body. These waves hit the body and then create micro bubbles. The bubbles work their magic and implode fat cells. There has been some research to suggest that this treatment works to improve the look of cellulite, and it does help to reduce the overall levels of cellulite. Of course, like any method that promises to reduce cellulite quickly, it won’t provide a long-term effect if lifestyle changes aren’t also made.
Results show that the treatment decreased skin density. The thickness of the skin was also reduced, but there were no negative side effects reported. The treatment is extensive, and it takes several weeks to provide the desired results.
This was the first medical treatment that was approved by the FDA for the reduction of cellulite. It has been in use for decades. The technique requires the use of a mechanized device with rollers that create regulated suction. It produces a symmetrical skin-fold and allows for deep tissue mobilization. This can result in an improvement in the reduction of cellulite.
Unproven, Groundless Methods
There are several other methods that purport to remove cellulite on the skin. However, none of these have been proven to work. In fact, there is no proof that the following remedies for cellulite have any effect:
- Pneumatic Massage: This involves placing a device on your body that supposedly improves circulation. The equipment places a certain amount of pressure on your body.
- Lymphatic Flow Massage: The idea behind this massage is that by draining the lymph nodes, you can remove toxins from your system.
- Heat Therapy: Proponents of this treatment state that the heat helps to reduce cellulite by melting it away. This is a known treatment option, but it requires a laser to perform. Simple heat only removes water from the body, which gives a temporary improvement in appearance.
- Radio Frequency Therapy: This technology is another form of heat therapy. It uses deep and controlled heating of the fatty layers underneath the skin. This can result in the tightening of tissues and increase of blood circulation. It reduces the appearance of cellulite, but more studies are required to know its ultimate effectiveness.
- Magnetic Therapy: This is a pseudoscience that purports to relieve a wide range of medical conditions. There is no evidence it has any effect on the reduction of cellulite.
- Radial Waves Therapy: Radial waves therapy can reduce pain, but it doesn’t appear to have any effect on the reduction of cellulite. It is believed that shockwaves can help to break up cellulite, but this has not been proven in any research study.
- Electrical Stimulation: The idea is that electrical stimulation of cellulite can zap the cellulite away. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this type of stimulation can remove cellulite from the body. It only results in a temporary tightening of the skin.
Getting Rid of Cellulite Fast
There are no fast methods for getting rid of cellulite. The good news, however, is that there are techniques and methods that do work. The bad news is that they take some time to complete. Laser therapies have shown to be promising, and exercise can have an effect over a longer period of time.
Surgeries can help get rid of cellulite overnight, but you’ll have some recovery time. If you don’t keep a healthy lifestyle after the surgery, the cellulite will eventually come back. The best way to reduce your levels of cellulite is to adopt a healthy and balanced attitude towards your life. Don’t buy into the gimmicks, and conduct the research necessary for any clinic or center that claims to have the answer to your cellulite woes.