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Dr. Payal Chaudhary, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist Infertility Specialist & Gynaecology Laproscopy Surgeon- Phoenix Hospital and Fortis La Famme
 

Vaginal Infection is quite common in India, it is estimated that more than 90% of women suffer with one or the other vaginal infection. The vaginal yeast infection is caused by Candida (fungus). There are various species of Candida which can cause vaginal yeast infection but the most common is Candida Albicans for yeast infection. Its not only yeast infection which affects vaginal area, bacterial vaginosis also do causes vaginal infection which is characterized by vaginal discharge, fishy smell, itching and irritation.

Some women are negligent who does not understand the vaginal hygiene properly or who thinks that discharge or itching in vagina is normal part of life. They don’t attempt to take action against it and suffer with it unknowingly. These days, we see lot of patients coming with vaginal infection and at some time the itching due to infection is so severe that skin is excoriated and they develop painful ulcers around vaginal area. At some point of time of the follow up of patients, we see that at least 50-60% of visiting patients do suffer with vaginal infection. At time they try to treat it with home remedies, if home remedies do not work then they come to the gynecologist.

Vaginal infection affects women irrespective of age group especially women in reproductive age. However women in extreme age are more susceptible to vaginal yeast infection, but the problem of vaginal yeast infection is noticeably rising in teen and young age female too. It is observed that the married women suffering with infection are open to discuss and get treated for the infection, but unmarried women do stay with the problem for years.

Vaginal yeast infection is a condition when there is constant itching, discharge which stains the undergarment and causes discomfort in the vaginal area. Vaginal infection affects quality of life of women in number of ways and once one is affected, it lasts for a long time. Vaginal infection can affect the daily routine of women as due to itching or discharge the woman may not feel like going out for long or may hesitate to attend social activities.

The change in lifestyle, food habits and tight clothing plays an important role in vaginal yeast infection. Like the synthetic garments, thick garments or jeans when wore for longer duration, it can potentially lead to vaginal yeast infection. These clothes especially wearing them in hot, summer & humid weather as in India will lead to yeast infection. It is therefore advised that one should use undergarments which are 100% cotton and it should be frequently washed. Similarly, food habits also plays a role in vaginal yeast infection, people with tendency for diabetes or already diabetic or people with glucose intolerance can develop vaginal yeast infection easily and frequently.  And then people who eats lot of fats or with high sugar intake will develop yeast infection more commonly. Obesity in itself is a factor for yeast infection because there are multiple fat holds on the skin which moisture can interact and result into vaginal yeast infection.

Some patients are particular about their intimate hygiene yet there are women who do not know what should be done, like women in rural areas do use douching which is not a good practice. The douching washes away the good bacteria in the vagina and result into infection. Also it has been noticed that some women do put in dettol in water to wash vaginal area which is completely a wrong practice.  In order to prevent or manage vaginal yeast infection, one should use products which contains lactobacillus. Vagina has a acidic pH so if one uses a product like soaps or shampoo which is alkaline in nature, it washes away the good bacteria in vagina and can aggravate the infection. The good practice is to use something which is acidic in nature, like Lassi or ideally one should use something which is pH balanced.

Vaginal yeast infection is not a good thing to carry and the treatment is so simple. Personal hygiene, loose clothing, washing the area with pH balanced washes can help in preventing and managing vaginal yeast infection. Some can use home remedial stuff like Lassi can be used as it has lactobacillus. Women should be attentive towards vaginal infection because it’s a common infection and can be managed easily. The women should notice the discharge, if she is getting thick white discharge, curdy discharge and it changes the color of the undergarments, its time when women should look at for infection treatment and should consult a gynecologist. Soaps and shampoo are alkali which can neutralize the acidic pH of vagina. The acidic pH of vagina helps in maintain the natural bacteria present in the vagina, like lactobacillus and it can be washed away when one uses alkali substances like soaps or shampoo and that can result in vaginal infection.

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Content Courtesy: Women Health Organization and Everteen Feminine Intimate Health &Hygiene Survey. The article is part of educational campaign on vaginal health & hygiene “I for Intimate Hygiene”, conceptualized by Women Health Organization and supported by Everteen Natural Intimate Wash.

Disclaimer: The content and information provided in the article is for educational purpose only and should not be considered as a medical advice. One should consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The author of the article does not endorse or recommend any product through this article.

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