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What Causes Yeast Infections in Women

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What Causes Yeast Infections in Women?
By: Donovan Baldwin

While yeast infections can occur in different areas of the body, as well as in both sexes, women are more prone to certain types. For some, this is an ongoing problem as their yeast infections tend to be chronic, recurring on a regular basis. For many of these women, it simply means another trip to Walgreens for another tube of Vagisil. For others, it can be a painful and debilitating experience.

If you are one of these women, in order to find permanent relief from this pain, discomfort, and embarrassment, it is good to remember an old military saying: Know your enemy. If you know what causes yeast infections, then you can do things to prevent them, or, at the very least, get yeast infection relief.

What IS a yeast infection and what are symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection?

As pointed out above, yeast infections can occur in both sexes, in adults and children, and in many parts of the body. Causes tend to be somewhat similar for many, but for most women, and for this discussion, the major problem is going to come in the form of a vaginal yeast infection.

Vaginal yeast infections...such as candidiasis, or monilia...are caused by a bacteria known as Candida albicans. This bacterium is normally present in various parts of the body, including in the crotch, but is relatively small in number and is normally kept under control by various factors, including hygiene, diet, and overall health.

Sometimes, various factors may cause a vaginal yeast infection, and a woman may experience some of the following symptoms:
  • Vaginal itching
  • A discharge from the vagina which is thick, white and "lumpy"
  • Vaginal soreness, irritation or burning
  • Rash or redness on the skin outside the vagina
  • Burning on urination
  • Vaginal pain during intercourse
By the way, these symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection can also be present as the result of other, more serious conditions as well, just as a headache can be the result of tension, the volume of your neighbor's radio, too much pollen in the air, or a brain tumor. If you are not sure of what is happening, see a doctor!

So, what causes yeast infections in women and what can you do to prevent them?

The causes of a Candida overgrowth can be common, similar, and simple whatever form of yeast infection you are discussing. However, a few, such as personal hygiene, can have more of a direct impact on vaginal yeast infections in women. However, the prevention of such outbursts is relatively simple in most cases, although not every base can be covered in every circumstance. Again, knowledge of the causes can help lead to prevention.

What causes yeast infections in women the most is use of antibiotics and antibacterial products. In addition to Candida albicans, there are other bacteria throughout the body which are tasked with keeping Candida under control. Antibiotics and antibacterial products, such as antibacterial soaps, can kill these "good bacteria" along with the bad, allowing Candida to run wild. This is particularly a problem when such antibacterial products are used in the area of the crotch and/or vagina.

Bottom line on antibiotics is, if you have been taking them, you might be susceptible to a vaginal yeast infection.

One possible cause over which you have little control is simply hormones. Whether produced by your own body or introduced into it by pill, cream, or shot, spikes and riffles in the normal hormonal flow can possibly be what produces yeast infections in women. Since one indirect cause of these outbreaks occurs is a weakened immune system, keeping healthy may be enough to help combat the outbreaks, as a healthy body tends to be more effective at keeping Candida albicans under control than an unhealthy body.

Cleanliness is also a factor in prevention of vaginal yeast infections. Despite the mention of antibacterial soaps earlier, the vaginal area should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water regularly. A "hit and a miss" method of cleaning up, particularly after sex could be a culprit. Along a similar line, wiping from back to front after using the toilet can move bad bacteria up to where they should not be.

Some things you may not have much control over: the chemicals in our environment, injury to the vaginal area, even some products such as condoms may use materials which can contribute to problems for some women. Again, a healthy body and a good diet can help prevent a Candida overgrowth from occurring even in those situations.

The proper diet goes a long way when you want to combat what causes yeast infections in women. While there are various schools of thought about particular foods to help or hinder a vaginal yeast infection, little evidence exists to support either side. However, eating a healthy, well balanced, diet goes a long way towards helping create a healthy immune system and keeping the body, and all its little organisms and interactions, in balance as well.

Sex and Vaginal Yeast Infections in Women!

Got your attention?

Interactions with sexual partners can create fluctuations and variations in the Candida albicans balance as well as the other bacteria present in the body and in the vaginal area in particular.

There, was I discrete enough?

While any physical interaction with other humans can expose you to a factor which might influence a Candida overgrowth, direct contact with the vaginal area, particularly as things go in and out, have a much more direct influence and potential for causing a vaginal yeast infection than other, more casual, events. You should be clean, your partner should be clean...both before and after, and you both should be as healthy as possible.

Other than that, have fun!

One place I cannot be discrete is in reference to sex between women, whether they are lesbians, bisexual, or just swinging. Women can pass a vaginal yeast infection back and forth. If this is happening, get it treated, get over it, and don't let it happen again...the yeast infection, that is. If you are not having sex with other women, but your male lover is, then you can find yourself in the same situation.

What can you do for relief from yeast infection pain and discomfort?

If, despite your best attempts to prevent a vaginal yeast infection, you find that you have one, there are a few things you can do.

First step is to see your doctor.

He or she can then prescribe prescription medications for vaginal yeast infections. The drawbacks are, of course, having to make an appointment, having to wait for the appointment, having to go to the pharmacy to drop off, and later pick up, the prescription, and the cost. Additionally, while the prescription products may be more effective ultimately in "killing off" the infection, which will normally "die down" over time, they tend to be much slower at providing vaginal yeast infection relief and more commonly are prone to drug interactions.

All of this may be the reason why over-the-counter (OTC) vaginal yeast infection treatments tend to outsell prescription products two to one.

For most, the matter of what causes yeast infections in women is of less importance than relief from yeast infections while they are going on! Over-the-counter yeast infection products are more convenient and readily available (supermarket, drug store, Wal-Mart, and even some convenience stores), cheaper, and bypass the "trip to the doctor" thing entirely.

There are many OTC products, and most women are aware of names such as Vagisil and Monistat. These are commonly recommended by doctors, sometimes even in place of the prescription medications. While such products do not stop the vaginal yeast infection, they provide relief from vaginal yeast infection symptoms while the body takes care of the problem on its own.

Other products which may not be found in your local store, such as a homeopathic yeast relief product, Yeastrol, are available online. Other products, which do not specifically target what causes yeast infections in women, can help control Candida in the body in general nd help produce a stronger immune system and a healthier body, both of which can aid greatly in combating vaginal yeast infections.  One product such as these is Shaklee's Optiflora® Prebiotic Complex.

No matter what causes yeast infections in women, while painful and embarrassing, they are not usually dangerous, so most women are content to deal with the symptoms until the whole thing blows over.  Hopefully, this short article will contribute to the knowledge necessary to create a lifestyle and make proper choices so that such events will become a thing of the past.

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Donovan Baldwin is a freelance SEO copywriter residing in the Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas area, and a University of West Florida alumnus. He is a past member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service.  In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions.  However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, health, and fitness.  In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as health, fitness, weight lifting, yoga, weight loss, the environment, global warming, happiness, self improvement, and life.  His blog on senior health and fitness can be found at http://fitness-after-40.ws.

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What Causes Yeast Infections in Women - Yeast Infection Relief

Page Updated 1:07 AM Wednesday 7/22/2015