Feeling itchy, having a burning sensation in the vagina and experiencing thick, white vaginal discharges are all signs of a vaginal yeast infection. But what causes it?
First of all, what is a vaginal yeast infection?
Vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal thrush, is caused by an overgrowth of yeast. The most common microorganism in the vaginal area is the Candida genus. Thus, another name for this type of infection is vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). Your vagina naturally contains yeast and bacteria. Some healthy bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, help to limit the yeast amount. When this balance is for whatever reason disrupted, the result is an excessive growth of yeast. This, in turn, leads to symptoms like the ones mentioned above.
What precisely causes this imbalance?
1) Broad-spectrum antibiotics particularly in long-term therapy
They decrease the amount of lactobacillus and other healthy bacteria in your vagina and change the pH of the area. The use of probiotics can restore the balance between the bacteria and yeast.
2) Pregnancy – Hormonal imbalance near period – Contraceptives
The hormonal changes during pregnancy and more specifically the high levels of estrogen, seem to favor the spread of yeast. This also occurs during hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle or because of the use of contraceptives.
3) Diabetes – High blood sugar
Fungi feed on sugar, therefore high blood sugar creates the ideal conditions for candida to reproduce. Diabetes and poor eating habits contribute to that direction.
4) Diseases – Weak immune system
This one is self-explanatory. When your body is incapable of controlling the amount of yeast, an overgrowth takes place.
Although a yeast infection can happen following sexual activities, it is not regarded as sexually transmitted. Changes in the vaginal pH are a possible explanation.
6) Tampon and other products of personal hygiene
Products that result in fluctuations of the vaginal pH can potentially lead to infection. As for tampons, a wet and warm environment is the perfect place for a yeast to populate. Try to change them as often as possible.
7) Tight-fitting underwear
Nylon and synthetic underwear don’t allow the genitals to breathe but instead hold moisture creating the perfect conditions for fungi. Rather than synthetic, cotton and silk underwear should be preferred.
Vaginal yeast infection is quite common. In fact, according to statistics, almost 75% of all adult women have had at least one such infection in their lifetime. Even so, it is unpleasant and uncomfortable, therefore knowing what causes it will help you avoid it.