Saturday, June 9, 2007

Protect Yourself: Yeast infection and STDs

Often when we think of sexually transmitted diseases, we rarely put a yeast infection and STDs side by side as coconspirators. In fact, yeast infections are the most common type of vaginal infection in women. Up to 75 percent of women suffer from yeast infection, also known as candida infection.

Yeast grows like a weed. As fungi, it will procreate spontaneously if given the right conditions, which often causes the infection. It needs warm, moist place to live and grow, and thus the vagina makes a perfect home.

Women will know that they have a yeast infection by three obvious signs: itching, burning, and a thick, cottage cheese like discharge. If they even suspect a yeast infection, they should see a doctor immediately. Over the counter medications exist, but doctors recommend a physician's visit because the infection could be more than just a yeast infection, and an over the counter treatment will not cover everything. Doctors will end up often prescribing an antibiotic cream that patients must apply directly to the affected area. This will kill the yeast and treat the infection effectively.

Often when we think of a yeast, we do not immediately think of a disgusting infection passed from one careless person to another, but we picture grandma's homemade bread, rising and then baking in her oven. Maybe we even think of a beer commercial where the producer will boast of the type of yeast used to create the best brew. This yeast is different. It is the saccharomyces cerevisiae type, much different than the candida which has people screaming in pain and running to the bathroom.

As an STD, yeast infection can be passed from person to person through direct, sexual contact. Women can pass it to men, and men can pass it to women. Additionally, those who engage in oral sex run the risk of an oral yeast infection, also known as thrush.

Individuals can put themselves at risk for such an infection. Sexually active people are especially prone to this infection. Furthermore, women on antibiotics even for common illnesses are prone to infection as the antibiotics can cause the yeast to multiply. We can prevent yeast infections by obviously abstaining from casual sex, but on another level, we can prevent them with just a daily dose of yogurt. The bacteria in consumed yogurt will prevent infections.

Thus while a yeast infection is not a life threatening illness like herpes or gonorrhea, it causes unnecessary pain and discomfort. So protect yourself, and pick up some Yoplait today.