If you’ve ever had a yeast infection, you know how uncomfortable and annoying it can be. A yeast infection is a type of vaginitis typically caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina, usually the Candida albicans.
Yeast infections can cause irritation and infection but there are treatments available that can resolve the condition quickly and effectively.
How Common are Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are very common. It’s estimated that over one million women in the US get one each year. The occasional yeast infection is not a cause for concern. However, if you have more than three yeast infections a year, you have a chronic yeast infection problem.
Understanding Chronic Yeast Infections
Chronic vaginal yeast infections are caused by an altered vaginal microflora pattern. Yeast and other microbes live in the vagina in small concentrations but are kept in check by the ‘good’ bacteria or lactobacilli.
An altered vaginal microflora occurs when there is a shift in the bacterial milieu, which causes the ‘bad’ bacteria to dominate the ecosystem. When this happens, the vaginal ecosystem becomes favorable to the growth of yeast. As a result, the natural vaginal secretions that bathe the vaginal walls irritate the tissues, resulting in symptoms such as itching, abnormal discharge, burning, and soreness.
Treating Chronic Yeast Infections
Yeast infections can be easily treated with antifungals. However, chronic yeast infections are often an indication of an altered vaginal microflora. If this underlying problem is not fixed, the yeast infection will recur. Recurrent yeast infections are treated by restoring the microflora to normal.
Dr. R. Stuart Fowler of Fowler GYN International (FGI) developed the Vaginal Fluid Analysis (VFA) test to detect an altered vaginal microflora. The VFA test provides a quantitative analysis of the vaginal constituents and is a good indicator of vaginal health.
If the vaginal microflora is in an altered state, FGI will formulate a customized treatment protocol to move it towards normal. Treatment involves a combination of medications and hypocontactant skincare products.
Most women with vulvovaginal symptoms such as itching, burning, and soreness have sensitive genital issues and can benefit from using hypocontactant skincare products. These products have no chemicals, dyes, or fragrances that can potentially irritate the vaginal tissues.