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What is vaginal yeast infection?What is vaginal yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infection is caused by a yeast called Candida. This yeast normally lives in your body quite happily without doing you any harm. But when the natural pH balance of your vagina is upset - which can easily happen - Candida can multiply. And that's when you may start to itch and develop a vaginal yeast infection.

  • A vaginal yeast infection can affect any women

    Yeast infections are very common: 3 out of 4 women have it at some point in their lives - many suffer frequently. If you have a yeast infection, you are certainly not alone.

    The high incidence of this condition clearly shows that it is not just one group of women who suffer vaginal yeast infections. In fact, every woman regardless of age, background, career, or other circumstances can be affected. It is most important to remember that a vaginal yeast infection is not to be interpreted as a sign of bad hygiene - if anything, the opposite is the case.

  • Who can get vaginal yeast infection?

    Don't worry or be embarrassed about having a vaginal yeast infection, as this is much more common than you might think - 3 out of 4 women have it at some point in their lives, especially if they are under the age of 20 or pregnant, and it is commonly suffered around the time of a period.

    Men are not immune. They can get a yeast infection too, though only a few develop the rash and itchiness. Most male sufferers act as carriers, without actually having the symptoms. To help prevent re-infection, make sure your partner uses Canesten as well as you.

  • Some facts about vaginal yeast infections

    • Three out of four women suffer from a yeast infection at least once in their lives.
    • Any woman can be affected.  
    • The causative agent is a yeast.
    • The most common one is Candida albicans.
    • The presence of yeast in the vagina is normal.
    • The condition is easily treated.
    • Symptoms are recognizable: Most women can tell by the symptoms if they are having a repeated infection

  • The pathogens are present in your body

    You don't get yeast, you have yeast. Even when you are fully healthy and free of symptoms, yeast fungi (Candida albicans) are often present in the vagina. Normally, the immune system and the acidic vaginal environment (pH 4) hold them in check, and they remain completely unnoticed. Only when the pH balance of the vaginal mucous membrane is disturbed are the conditions favorable for yeast to multiply unchecked. An infection occurs with all of its unwelcome symptoms.

  • Talk about it

    A vaginal yeast infection is completely normal; it is certainly not something to be ashamed of. Vaginal yeast infections are simply the body's reaction to some specific situation. You should feel free to talk about it: with your partner, girlfriend, or your doctor or pharmacist.

    Do something about it though, because waiting is the one thing that won't help.

  • What are the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection?

    The main symptom - and by far the most irritating - is the itching. You may also feel a burning soreness and this can be accompanied by a whitish odourless discharge.

    Though very uncomfortable, these symptoms can be sorted out quickly and easily, by treating at the site of infection as well as soothing the irritation.

    Most women seek help for relief of external itching. However, it is important that the infection is treated internally as well as externally, to prevent symptoms from returning.

  • Who is especially at risk for a vaginal yeast infection?

    Even if theoretically every woman can get a yeast infection, some women are particularly susceptible:

    Women with diabetes have a higher glucose level in the bloodstream and tissues, where yeast fungi find a conductive nutritional and reproductive environment.

    Women who do not have a balanced diet create a more beneficial environment for yeast in that they weaken their own immune system. Other types of infectious diseases, e.g. influenza, inflammations, heavy colds, or other infections also weaken the body's natural defense system.

    In women who take medications, the pH balance in the vagina may be disturbed - and yeasts take advantage. This can also occur after wearing tightly fitting 'unbreathable' clothing for long periods of time.

  • When is it necessary to see your doctor?

    Even if self medication of a yeast infection is easy, under certain circumstances it may be necessary to consult your doctor:  

    • You are having a yeast infection for the first time.
    • You are younger than 12 years of age.
    • You do not notice an improvement in 3 days of treatment or if symptoms have not disappeared within 7 days.  
    • If symptoms recur within 2 months.
    • You are pregnant.
    • You are suffering from atypical symptoms, e.g. fishy smell, fever or intense pain in your lower abdomen.
  • Does my partner also have to be treated?

    Vaginal yeast infections are not venereal diseases since they are not normally transmitted through sexual intercourse. Nevertheless, it is possible for you to be reinfected by your partner. When the infection goes back and forth for a while, this is referred to as a ping-pong effect. In the instance of a corresponding complex of symptoms, treating the partner is advisable. You do not, however, have to abstain from sex during the treatment.

  • What if I am pregnant?

    If you are hit by a yeast infection during pregnancy, you should definitely consult your doctor, to be sure that the infection is treated properly.