Studies show that almost 75% of women may experience yeast infection once in their lifetime and up to 45% have two or more. It’s because yeast is present even in healthy vaginas. However, there are instances when the yeast proliferate too much that eventually lead to infection.
Yeast infection commonly occurs when a woman reaches her 20’s to 40’s. The duration of the infection depends on the severity of the infection and how it is treated. But, before ruling out how long the infection lasts, it makes sense identifying the factors that cause yeast infections.
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What Causes Yeast Infections?
Naturally, there are various healthy bacteria present in the vagina as well as yeast. The healthy bacteria control the production of the yeast and at the same time keep the vagina slightly acidic to prevent the growth of Candida.
The yeast itself isn’t the cause of the infection, but when the proper balance of the good bacteria and the yeast is disturbed. Once it is disturbed, the candida becomes more aggressive like a fungus that makes it capable to release and spread more than 80 kinds of toxins.
The toxins may affect different parts of the body and make the immune system suffer. In this case, your health will be at risk of various diseases. The overgrowth of yeast is caused by Candida Albicans. If the normal chemistry of the vagina is out of balance, the yeast present in the vagina grows too much.
Some factors that change the balance in the vagina’s environment include the following:
- Hormonal changes particularly during menstrual cycle
- Taking cortisone, antibiotics, and other medications
- Weak immune system
- Poor hygiene and toilet habits
- Wearing tight clothing
- Using contraceptives such as sponges
Yeast infection doesn’t only affect women but men as well. The infection may occur on the scrotum and penis. Such infection is different from an STD or sexually transmitted disease. But, keep in mind that yeast may overgrow when the body chemistry of one person has the bad reaction to another individual’s natural genital bacteria and yeast.
Being aware of the symptoms of yeast infection can also help to prevent or treat the infection. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- White thick, clumpy vaginal discharge
- Whitish, creamy coating around the vagina
- Itching and burning sensation and redness around the vagina
- Painful sexual interaction or during urination
Yeast Infection Self-Test
Self-test is possible only if you know the symptoms of the infection. But, it is important to seek doctor’s advice to prevent the infection to debilitate.
Aside from self-test, your doctor may conduct a vaginal exam or wet mount test. A vaginal culture is done to confirm the infection. Likewise, a blood test may also be requested to know if the infection is caused by diabetes or other health problem.
Do Yeast Infections Go Away On Their Own?
Yeast infection may go away without treatment as long as the cause of the infection has subsided. Likewise, if your body’s immune system is strong, most likely the infection may heal by itself. But, this is only possible if the yeast infection is mild.
How Long Does A Yeast Infection Last Without Treatment?
As mentioned above, there are cases in which yeast infection may heal by itself. But, it also depends on the severity of the condition. Mild yeast infection may subside for few days without treatment. Usually, within 2 weeks or few days, medications can cure 80 to 90% of vaginal yeast infections.
Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
If the symptoms of the yeast infection are mild, it may heal by itself or may clear out by using home remedies.
Probiotics or the good bacteria are commonly found in yogurt. The probiotics help to restore the normal balance of the bacteria and yeast in your vagina. You can treat the infection by consuming yogurt, but some women testified that applying it directly to the affected area provides faster relief.
You can also find probiotics oral supplements that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria. This brings that vaginal flora and digestive tract back into alignment.
- Tea tree oil
A study showed that tea tree oil is effective to treat yeast infection because it has the ability to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It also helps to preserve the healthy balance of vaginal flora. However, if you will use this oil it should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil especially if you will use it as a vaginal suppository.
- Boric acid
According to a study, using boric acid topically showed positive results for vaginal infections because of its antiseptic property. Some women testified that using boric acid vaginal suppositories is also effective in treating yeast infections.
But, you should be careful because boric acid can be toxic when used in large amounts. Absorbing more than enough of it can damage the kidney, lead to circulatory system failure, or worse death.
It is not recommended to take boric acid orally and should not apply it to broken skin. Mix it with water before applying it to the affected area.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) options
OTC medications can be used only for mild or moderate yeast infections. This means that over-the-counter options won’t do well with chronic yeast infections. Examples of OTC options include the following:
Short-course treatments are the first in line used for yeast infections. These are antifungal drugs that are administered within seven days. Short-term medications are available in creams, ointments, tablets, and suppositories. The most commonly used OTC options are clotrimazole, tioconazole, and miconazole.
Aside from using home remedies, it is also essential to practice proper hygiene and to boost the immune system. Taking vitamin C can prevent candida overgrowths because of its antimicrobial components. You can also use apple cider vinegar and consume more garlic.
When to see your doctor
Most home remedies may relieve the condition within few days of using it. If the condition persists, you should seek medical intervention. The treatment that you have been using may not be enough or effective to get rid the infection.
On the other hand, in case that the condition recurs after few months, consult your doctor. The infection may be caused by other underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.
Janice Thompson is a nutritionist. She loves to share her healthy lifestyle and diet tips.