Womens Health

Treating Yeast & Bacterial Infection

Vaginal infections, whether bacterial or yeast, can be a real catch 22 for women. Sometimes, when a bacterial vaginosis is being treated, a yeast vaginitis erupts, especially if certain antibiotics are used to treat the bacterial condition. It is very rare for a woman to have both a bacterial infection along with a yeast infection simultaneously; however, one can follow the other providing a lengthy period of discomfort.

Yeast Infection - Candidiasis

Many healthy women normally carry yeast in their vaginal area. The scientific name for yeast fungus is Candida and the strain of Candida that is responsible for vaginitis is Candida albicans. When there is an overgrowth of yeast that causes infection and inflammation, the condition is called vaginitis, something about 75 percent of all women will experience at least once in their lifetime. There are a number of causes for vaginitis that include:

· bacteria - such as Gardnerella and gonorrhea

· protozoans - such as the STD trichomoniasis

· yeast - Candida

The most common vaginitis is caused by Candida and is called Candidiasis. It is caused by an increase of the amount of yeast already present in the vagina that overruns the healthy bacteria in the vagina. This can result from drug treatments, like immunosuppressive drugs taken by those with AIDS, or by antibiotics that may be used to treat an infection in another part of the body. It can also occur as a result of the introduction of new yeast into the vaginal region, perhaps picked up from someone who has an existing infection. Chemotherapy can cause injury to the vagina, which can cause an inflammation. Pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, and the use of oral contraceptives are also implicated in yeast vaginitis. Since it is often found in a normal vagina, including vaginas of women who are not sexually active, yeast vaginitis is not considered to be an STD.

Treating Candidiasis

Most often, yeast vaginitis is treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal medications that are applied to the infected area. Sometimes antifungal oral medications are prescribed, and if there is a mixed infection, then the treatment may include both oral and topical medications. Generally, OTC topical meds do the trick. However, if the infection does not clear up with the use of medication for Candidiasis, then it is advisable to see the doctor to determine other causes.


The Same Only Different

Similar symptoms of burning, itching, painful intercourse, and discharge appear with sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis is a condition where the normal flora in the vagina is out of balance and does not contain adequate lactobacillus bacteria. At the same time there is an increase of bacteria, mostly the type that does not require oxygen to multiply. The combination of these actions creates bacterial vaginosis, a condition that some women do not experience symptoms from while others do. The risk factors for contracting bacterial vaginosis include:

· IUDs (contraceptive devices)

· new sex partners

· recent use of antibiotics

· cigarette smoking

· vaginal douching

The cause of bacterial vaginosis is not fully understood and even though it can be spread through new sexual partners, women who are not sexually active at all can have bacterial vaginosis. Therefore, it is not qualified as an STD, but it can present as Chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis, all of which are STDs.

Identifying and Treating Bacterial Vaginosis

The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are similar to a yeast infection with the exception of the discharge, which is thin, grey, and has a bad odor. The discharge from a yeast infection is usually thick, like cottage cheese, and odorless. They both cause itching, burning, and inflammation of the vulva when symptoms are present. The doctor will take a sample of the discharge to determine whether the vaginosis is a sexually transmitted disease or if it is caused by another situation.

Treating bacterial vaginosis is done through the use of antibiotics, either taken orally or vaginally in creams or suppositories. While the antibiotics clear the infection, they may trigger a yeast infection. As we said earlier, it can be a catch 22. The good news is that bacteria vaginosis can be completely cleared up without any complications and if the symptoms are gone, there is no need for any other treatments.

To learn more about the types of medications used to treat Candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis, check the article on Oral Treatments in this section.

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