When you feel an itching, burning sensation that just doesn’t seem to go away and only gets progressively worse, you’re probably joining the ranks of the many women who’ve suffered from something that makes any female shudder: a yeast infection.

It’s estimated that a full three-fourths of women across the globe will suffer from yeast infections in their lifetimes, so you’re certainly not alone in your sorrows.

Yeast infections happen because of imbalances in the pH levels of your vagina, and their symptoms are unpleasant, to say the least. There are plenty of reasons why women can end up with yeast infections.

Birth control pills, antibiotics, sensitivity to soaps or douches, sexual transmission, pregnancy and diabetes are amongst the most common reasons why women end up with that itching redness and discharge they wish would just go away.

If you suspect a yeast infection to be the source of your discomfort, don’t assume that candida albicans, the responsible fungus, is the culprit. Many other more serious vaginal problems have similar symptoms to yeast infections and only a doctor can out-rule other causes for your itching and burning such as a bacterial infection or an allergic reaction.

Also, if you are pregnant, consulting with your doctor is doubly important, as you may find you should not use certain types of medications.

I’m Sure, Now What?

Once you’ve got a firm diagnosis and are sure that a yeast infection is the problem, your first course of action is treating the symptoms and relieving your body of the pain and burning as quickly as possible. There are over-the-counter antifungal medications available that will clear up yeast infections within three to seven days, and for more persistent or chronic cases, a doctor can prescribe a stronger anti-fungal that is usually taken orally.

If you have a partner with whom you are sexually active, they should certainly treat themselves with antifungal medication as well, to prevent the yeast infection from bouncing back and forth between you both in an uncomfortable game of tag.

Try to narrow down possibilities of the source of your misery and eliminate it if possible. Have you changed brand of laundry soap recently or started using a new bubble bath? If you use condoms, have you changed brands or switched to one with a spermicide?

There are other things you can do to cut down on your chances of repeat yeast infections, such as wearing loose clothing and cotton underwear – remember that fungus and bacteria love two things – warm humidity.

Yeast infections are definitely unpleasant and you may not be able to avoid getting another one (some women have chronic flare-ups), but you can certainly do your best to learn the signs and symptoms, inform yourself on what to do and deal with the matter quickly for minimal discomfort, and narrow down the chances of a re-occurrence.

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