Chronic and Recurring Yeast Infections


Chronic yeast infections are not uncommon in many women. A form of yeast called Candida albicans cause the majority of them. Yeast cells are present in the vagina along with a large number of bacteria. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most common type of bacteria and is the bacteria that help to prevent the yeast population under control.

Recurring Yeast Infection Causes

When the yeast becomes excessive and out of control, the recurring yeast infection and vaginitis occurs. This imbalance in yeast and bacteria will cause symptoms to occur. The use of some antibiotics can create an imbalance and thus cause a recurring yeast infection. The antibiotic can destroy the bacteria in the vagina as well as curing the infection for which it was intended.

During pregnancy, the increase in hormones can cause the yeast/bacteria balance to become unstable. During that time, the yeast can grow too much. Hormone replacement therapy can have the same effect. The increase in estrogen will feed the yeast and cause a chronic yeast infection. This includes birth control pills.

There are health issues that can create the perfect environment for chronic yeast infections. Diabetes is one of those illnesses as is any immune deficiency. If the woman is taking prednisone this reduces the immune system and can lead to chronic yeast infections.

Damage to the vagina increases the risk. Often, women undergoing chemotherapy will have an injury to the vagina and consequently, a yeast infection. Douches and vaginal sprays containing perfumes can also increase the risk.

Although a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease, it can cause some men to develop irritation of the penis due to the yeast infection in an infected partner. Celibate women can also contract recurrent yeast infections from these same causes.

Chronic Yeast Infection Symptoms

There are no set symptoms for vaginitis or chronic yeast infections. There are some such as itching in the vulvar area and the vagina that are more common than others are. Other maladies can cause the same symptoms. Other symptoms that can appear with a vaginal yeast infection are:

• Burning in the vagina or vulvar area. This can be very painful at times.

• Soreness during urination is not uncommon. Urine passing over the infected area can be painful.

• Pain during intercourse is common if the infection is not treated.

• A vaginal discharge can occur but, it not as common as some of the other symptoms. The discharge has no odor. It appears as a thick white substance with the same general consistency as cottage cheese.

Recurrent yeast infections occur in about 5% of women. When the yeast infection recurs four or more times each year, and they are not related to the administration of antibiotics, it is considered to be chronic yeast infections. In this case, medical treatment may need to be more aggressive.

Recurring Yeast Infections Diagnosis. If a cheesy white discharge is seen and other non-specific symptoms occur, it may be a yeast infection. It can also be caused by other conditions. For this reason, recurring yeast infections need to be diagnosed either by your physician or by the kits that are available. At one time, microscopic examination was the most frugal, but over the counter kits are less expensive than a doctor visit.

If the test for yeast comes back negative, other causes need to be examined.

Recurring Yeast Infection Treatments

chronic yeast infectionsAnti-fungal medications are the usual treatment for chronic or recurring yeast infections. These medications are applied locally. They are topically applied in and around the vagina. Your physician may also prescribe an oral anti-fungal pill. If there is a combination of infections present, a more complex treatment may be needed.

Topical creams:

• Lotrimin-clotrimazole

• Monistat-miconazole

• Terazol-terconazole

If the over the counter medications named above do not take care of the infection, you should consult with your physician. There are other types of infections that have similar symptoms. Bacterial vaginosis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia, may present with similar symptoms. The majority of physicians treat frequent yeast infections with either vaginal tablets, creams and suppositories rather than with the oral medication. The side effects of Diflucan, such as nausea, abdominal pain and nausea, are not present with the vaginal creams or suppositories. The pill cannot be taken during pregnancy.

Chronic Yeast Infections Prevention. You can help prevent chronic yeast infections. It is important that your genital area remains clean and dry. Underwear should be cotton rather than nylon. The cotton is more absorbent than nylon and will help keep the area dry. Nylon panties with a cotton crotch may be acceptable in some instances. If you find that the chronic yeast infections recur with the wearing of panties with just a cotton crotch, change to cotton.

When swimming, change your bathing suit when you get out of the water. Keeping you wet bathing suit on during a hot summer day will create an environment that is suitable for yeast infection.

Avoid the use of douches. Most contain chemicals and fragrances that can upset the balance of yeast and bacteria. Avoid feminine sprays. Use toilet paper that is unscented. Do not use scented tampons. Ladies with diabetes can help prevent yeast infections by keeping their blood sugar under control.

While it may seem strange, there is another way to help prevent chronic yeast infections. If you use a laptop computer, use a lap desk when the laptop is on your lap. The heat from the laptop cause sweating and the increased heat will aid in providing the environment necessary for the propagation of yeast.

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