17 December, 2008

Vaginal infection:

Inflammation down below is an embarrassing complaint and causes a lot of discomfort. One of the most common causes of itchy vulva is an infection called thrush. This infection is caused by yeast, Candida albicans, which occurs naturally on most women and can multiply excessively under certain conditions. It is most likely to occur in women of childbearing age. 7 out of 10 women may have it at some point in life. The most common symptoms include itching and soreness around vulva, vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sex and urination. In severe cases it may include redness, cracking and/or swelling of the vulva or at times actual sores.

The following factors are said to have increase the risk of its occurrence:
Antibiotics: About 30% women having antibiotics get this infection because the bacteria that help to keep Candida in check are destroyed by antibiotics.
Hormonal changes: Altered levels of the hormone oestrogen can change the conditions on your vagina, affecting the growth of Canida. After the menopause, hormonal changes lead to vaginal dryness and thinning of the skin, making it more prone to such infections.
Stress: It can affect your hormonal levels and eventually get infection. Try not to worry about it and seek a remedy.

Diabetes: If you have poorly controlled diabetes, the raised levels of blood sugar create favourable conditions for the growth of Candida.
Weak immune system: If you are HIV positive, receiving chemotherapy or high dose of steroids, your immune system will be compromised and it will be difficult for your body to control levels of Candida.

Factors other than infection: Few women are allergic to latex and may react to some condoms and experience stinging or burning sensation which can be treated. Inverse psoriasis is not flaky but may appear red, smooth and shiny. It appears where there are deep folds of skin. It is irriated by friction and sweating and often found in people who are overweight. Some Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) has symptoms similar to thrush. Best is to take medical advice.
This condition is not caused by bad hygiene. It is advisable not to frequently wash your vaginal area with soap as it may alter the natural acidity of that area. Wash normally, try using unscented mild soap. Try wiping yourself whenever you take a pee. Wiping from front to back after going to the loo avoids transferring bacteria from the anal area to the vagina. The vulva area tends to be warm and moist-ideal condition for yeast to thrive- so cotton underwear is better than nylon. Tight fitting trousers and clothing’s should be avoided.

Parimita Chakravorty

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