RadioMD: Staying Well

Dry, Itchy & Uncomfortable Down There: Do You Have a Yeast Infection?

November 17, 20149 min
Three out of four women experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives.If you've ever experienced a yeast infection, you know how uncomfortable the symptoms are. You may also remember how embarrassed you may have felt, and that you didn't want to discuss it with anyone... even your doctor.However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 75 percent of all adult women have had at least one yeast infection at some point. A yeast infection is a type of vaginitis (inflammation of your vagina) that occurs when the natural bacteria and yeast in your vagina are disrupted and cause excess yeast, which leads to an infection.What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?Symptoms associated of a yeast infection include itching, irritation in and around your vagina, burning, swelling, redness, vaginal pain, soreness, and a thick odor-free discharge. It's important to note that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor right away to rule out the possibility of any other serious health concerns like an STD.Is there a way you can prevent a yeast infection from happening?Unfortunately, you may not be able to fully protect yourself from getting a yeast infection; but, there are certain things you can do to help lower your chances. For example, avoid tight-fitting pants and undergarments, only wear cotton underwear (at least a cotton panel in the crotch area), avoid sitting around in your sweaty workout gear or wet swimsuit, avoid using scented lotions, lubricants, creams and body washes, always wipe yourself from front to back, and try to incorporate probiotics into your diet (they give your body the healthy gut bacteria that can help prevent yeast infections from occurring).How do you treat a yeast infection?Once you've seen your doctor, you may be wondering what the next step is for treating your yeast infection. Some of the medications and creams your doctor prescribes may burn and only add to the discomfort. However, there are many OTC options that can help.What else do you need to know about yeast infections?Rebecca Posten, MD, joins Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss the embarrassing symptoms you may be experiencing, how to lower your chances of getting a yeast infection, and what kinds of treatment options are available.

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