Sunday, February 21, 2016

Vaginal Thrush : Treatment, Symptoms and Prevention

Candidiasis or candidosis (Thrush) is a common infection caused by the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus, Candida albicans. Candida inhabits the vagina, mouth and intestines. Normally candida is normally harmless, but if the immune system fails to keep it under control, infection can occur.

The candidosis involves the skin, oral mucosa (thrush), vagina or the respiratory tract and is often associated with pregnancy, diabetes mellitus or use of antibiotics. Yeast infections (vulvovaginal candidiasis) in women are the most common type of vaginal infection. Thrush can occur in other areas of body (oral thrush treatment), such as in mouth, breast, penis, etc.

The most common symptoms of thrush are itching and irritation. In men with thrush, there may be an irritation in the penis after sex. Women with vaginal thrush may have itching and discharge in vagina. (oral thrush in babies)

Causes of Vaginal Thrush

The thrush causing yeast may be present all the time, but the problem arises when they overgrow. Following are the various potential causes.
  1. A weakened immune system
  2. Diabetes
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Use of antibiotics and steroids
  5. Use of contraceptives
  6. Use of high dose steroids
  7. History of allergies
  8. Women receiving oral sex)
  9. Multiple sclerosis
Note that yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection.

Common Signs and Symptoms


Symptoms of thrush in women are worse in the week before menstruation when there is a change in vaginal pH.

Typical symptoms of vaginal thrush include
  1. A thick white or creamy odorless vaginal discharge
  2. Burning on urination
  3. Itchiness in and around the vagina
  4. Redness around the vagina
  5. Swelling of  vulva or vagina
  6. Pain during sex
You should consult your Doctor as some of the above symptoms may be due to dermatitis, bacterial vaginosis, lichen sclerosis or genital herpes.

Yeast Infection Diagnosis

If you have sign of infection, then you can take the Spit Test at home to know if you have a possibility of vaginal infection.

In the morning, before eating or drinking anything, spit in a glass of water.
If the spit floats on the top and the water is clear even after an hour, then you may not have a yeast infection.

You may have an infection if
  1. the spit sinks, either to the middle section of the water or right to the bottom.
  2. the spit stays on top of the water but strands float down from it.
  3. the water becomes cloudy or there are specks in the water.
Note that vaginal and yeast infections can only be correctly diagnosed by a doctor. So it is better to go to your doctor for proper diagnosis. If left unattended, it can lead to serious complications.

How To Treat Thrush in Vagina At Home

Antifungal vaginal creams available from chemists may effectively treat your yeast infection.

There are suggestions to treat it naturally. But before starting a treatment yourself, you must seek medical advice to make sure the symptoms are not due to diabetes, dermatitis, genital herpes or other conditions.

The natural remedies for yeast thrush include probiotics and yogurt, boric acid, tea tree oil, garlic, douching and tampons. The aim of these therapies is to kill the harmful bacteria and to correct the pH of vagina.
Reduce your sugar intake and increase eating yogurt with lactobacillus acidophilus and garlic.

Before attempting any of the following home remedies, be sure that you actually have a yeast infection. Note that most of these natural therapies have not been supported by clinical studies, so it cannot be said how effective are these home remedies for treating yeast infections. If you find any home remedy uncomfortable, you should immediately discontinue it.

You should consult your Doctor before beginning any treatment.
Natural remedies of thrush using garlic, boric acid, yogurt, tea tree oil, etc.
Natural remedies of thrush

Vaginal pH Remedies

The acid in vagina kills infections so inadequate vagina pH can cause problems. The normal vagnia pH is between 3.5 and 4.5 which is acidic. You can test your pH using a test kit from your Chemist.

To increase acidity, add white vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to your bath water.

Treating With Tampon

  1. Use a sponge tampon, soak it in the following and insert it into vagina twice a day or leave overnight to get relief. Repeat until one day after the symptoms disappear. If you don't have a tampon, you can use a cheesecloth to make one.
  2. Dip tampon in white vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Dip tampon in plain yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus.
  4. Pour a few drops of Tea tree oil on a lubricated tampon.
  5. Dissolve 1 Tbsp of potassium sorbate in 1 cup water and dip the tempon in it and use.
  6. Wrap a fresh clove of peeled garlic in cheese-cloth and tie with unwaxed dental floss to make a tampon and insert it.

Use a Douche to Kill Bacteira

Wash yourself using a douche before you shower. Fill the douche bottle with warm water mixed with acidophilus powder and vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil acts as an antifungal against yeast.
Insert the nozzle of the douche bottle into the vagina and squeeze.

Try Boric Acid Suppository

Boric acid is antifungal and antiseptic, and it inhibits the growth of Candida albicans.

Insert a boric acid suppository capsule into the vagina and keep it there overnight. Repeat for 5 days. For some women the boric acid may cause burning and discomfort. Repeat until the symptoms disapper.

Probiotics

Insert a probiotic tablet in the vagina, and leave overnight. Repeat once a week.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberries can prevent and treat yeast infections besides urinary tract infections.
Drink unsweetened 100% cranberry juice.

Personal Hygiene

  1. Wear Cotton Underwear or None
  2. Keep your genital area dry, as yeast grow in warm, moist environments. So wear no underwear to allow free flow of air to keep you dry.
  3. Avoid wet swimsuits, pantyhose, jeans; and wear a cotton underwear. Change your underwear regularly.
  4. Say no to scented soap, scented douches, which may disrupt vaginal pH levels.
  5. Always wipe from front to back when using the toilet to prevent the spread of bacteria from your anus.

When to Consult a Doctor

You should consult your doctor if there is no improvement within three days or you have a discharge with foul smell or you have fever. Go to Doctor if the reoccurs.

References

  1. Thrush and other vaginal infections fact sheet,  www.womhealth.org.au/conditions-and-treatments/thrush-and-other-vaginal-infections-fact-sheet
  2. Schwebke, JR. Vaginal infections, In Goldman, MB & Hatch MC. Women and Health San Diego: Academic Press 2000 p356
  3. Iavazzo (2011), Boric acid for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: the clinical evidence. Journal of Women’s Health.
  4. Kessel et al (2003), Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review." Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey.
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