Yeast infections: top facts
An itch, a burn. That’s how it starts. And then it gets worse. Most women are familiar with this feeling: getting a yeast infection.
Yeast infections are very common and are sometimes confused with STDs. Get all your facts and what to do to make it better here.
What is it?
Every woman has a so-called vaginal flora. That’s the normal balance of bacteria and yeast of the vagina. That keeps the vagina healthy and clean.
When the flora changes though, it can lead to a yeast infection. That means that yeast overpowers the rest of the good bacteria and cause a yeast infection.
Your vagina and vulva will feel itchy. There may be redness, swelling, and a burning sensation, especially when peeing or when you have sex. Your discharge may also be different than usual, either white and thick or clear and watery.
Yeast infections are also called candidiasis or thrush. About 3 out of 4 women will get a yeast infection at least once in their lives.
Are they dangerous?
Thankfully, most yeast infections are harmless. Even if you don’t treat them, they will usually go away on their own.
Sometimes, yeast infections can be a sign of a bigger problem though. So if you have them frequently, or with very severe symptoms, you should see a healthcare professional to make sure there’s nothing more serious going on.
Why do we get yeast infections?
Many things can cause the fungus Candida albicans to grow out of hand. A very common one is being on antibiotics – the medication will attack most bacteria, including the good bacteria that usually keep the fungus in check.
Other causes are stress, too much alcohol, or some hormonal birth control methods.
Is it an STD?
The type of yeast that can cause yeast infections is always present around the vulva and vagina and even in other parts of your body.
That’s why yeast infections aren’t considered STDs because they are usually not passed on from one person to the next. While it is possible, it doesn’t happen often.
When do you need to get medical care?
Even though most yeast infections don’t necessarily need treatment, they can be annoying and uncomfortable. It’s best to see a healthcare professional. Once they have confirmed that you have a yeast infection, they can give you creams to help with the itching and burning. They might also give you oral tablets to treat the yeast overgrowth.
You should always see a healthcare professional if your infection seems very heavy, lasts for more than a few days, or if you are pregnant or have diabetes.
Can men get yeast infections?
Yes, it is possible for men to get yeast infections, but that’s not very common. The symptoms are similar: a thick, white substance on the penis, white patches, an itch, and a rash.
One of the biggest risks is having unprotected sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, but bad hygiene, especially in men who aren’t circumcised, is another common cause. Other risks include being on antibiotics for a long time, having diabetes, or having difficulties with tour immune system, for example, if you are HIV-positive.
Do you have questions about yeast infections or sexual health in general? Head to our discussion board, where our moderators can help you out.