In a healthy individual, there are millions of microorganisms in different parts of the body which are essential for normal functioning of that particular organ. Be it the mouth or the gut or the reproductive tract, there are normally organisms. These form part of the normal flora of that body part. It is when there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria, where the bad ones take over, then there is a problem. This results in an infection, which manifests with symptoms and requires treatment.
Vaginal yeast infection is one of the most common such conditions and almost 75% of the women would have had it at least once in their lifetime. It is most commonly caused by the yeast Candida albicans, which is normally present in the vagina. Though it can be sexually transmitted, it is not a usual STD.
Causes: The vagina also contains the bacteria Lactobacillus, which produces acid and is essential for maintaining an acidic environment. This acidic environment ensures there is no overgrowth of the yeast. For various reasons, this balance is lost and there is an overgrowth of yeast leading to vaginal yeast infections. Some of the common causes are listed below.
Symptoms: The symptoms would depend on the severity of the infection.
In cases of recurrent vaginal yeast infections, there could be more than 4 infections per year along with extensive burning and itching and swelling that could even lead to cracks and fissures.
Diagnosis: Though the symptoms can be helpful in diagnosis, sometimes a pelvic exam and swab of the vaginal discharge might be required to confirm the diagnosis. This is especially required in cases of repeated infections.
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