Health 101: Yeast Infections

Amber Casperson, News Editor

 

This one is mostly for the ladies, but stay tuned guys, this can affect you as well. When it comes to infections of our lower regions, no one really wants to talk about it. But it is a conversation everyone should have (with their doctor, at least).

WebMD.com states, “An estimated 75 percent of women get vaginal yeast infections, accompanied by vaginal itching, burning, and discharge.” Men are also able to contract a genital yeast infection by having unprotected sex from their partners; however, it is uncommon.

MayoClinic.com explains that the symptoms of a yeast infection include itching and irritation in the vagina and entrance to the vagina (vulva). It may also include a burning sensation during sex or urination, redness and swelling of the vulva, and vaginal pain. The easiest way to identify a yeast infection is by the discharge. It’s thick, white, odor-free, and looks chunky like cottage cheese.

There are simple ways for a woman to lower her risk of a yeast infection. Avoid using douches or other feminine products, and change out of wet clothes such as swimsuits and workout attire as soon as possible. Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting underwear, pantyhose, and pants. Also try to stay out of hot tubs and very hot baths.

Yeast infections are uncomfortable, but are rarely serious. That being said, you do need to take care of it. Monistat or other over-the- counter creams are effective in taking care of most uncomplicated yeast infections. If you read the back of these creams, you’ll notice it says: if this is your first yeast infection or if it doesn’t go away after completing the over-the-counter treatment, see a doctor immediately. Why?

It may not be a yeast infection.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) according to WebMD.com is “…caused by bacteria, not yeast, which normally live in the vagina and can “overgrow” out of balance.” Because BV happens in women who have never had sex, BV is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it is treated with prescription antibiotics like Metronidazole. The signs of BV include: a grayish-white discharge with a strong, fishy odor and pain while urinating. It can also include discomfort in the lower abdomen and an ichy/irritated vulva.

Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a parasite that required both the man and the woman to get treated, as it is an STI. This infec- tion causes vaginal itching, burning, and a foul-smelling green, frothy discharge. Other common symptoms include redness and swelling of the labia, and pain while urinating.

An infection in the cervix can trigger the symptoms of burning or discharge during urination or sex.

Other STIs such as herpes and gonorrhea can mimic the symptoms of a yeast infection. If you have had unprotected sex with someone whose sexual history you don’t know and you develop symptoms, go to a doctor to get checked out.

If anything doesn’t feel or look right down under, you should go to the doctor. It could be something simple, but it could also be something a little more serious.