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Caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a fungus, yeast infections are the

most common of all vaginal infections. Yeast infections are not sexually
transmitted and are often caused by menopause. Of all vaginal infections, yeast
infections are one of the main symptoms of menopause, caused by the fluctuating
hormones leading to bacteria in the vagina going out of control. Baths, excess
moisture in the vagina, or damp or tight clothes may lead to yeast infections. The
signs of yeast infection during menopause, as well as otherwise, are:
inflammation, continued itching and irritation, pain during intercourse, frequent
urination, and a thick, white discharge from your vagina.

With the drop of estrogen levels during menopause, the walls of your vagina become
thinner and weak. During intercourse, the walls become irritated, leaving tiny
scars and scratches, enabling bacteria to thrive. Higher levels of estrogen, due
to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), also increase the chance of yeast
infections. Damp and moist vagina, due to increased vaginal discharge caused by
higher levels of estrogen, is a great breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.

Menopause, Yeast Infections and Treatment


Yeast infections can be treated by OTC (Over-The-Counter) medication in the form
of creams and suppositories. Before using these medications, it is always
advisable to have a proper diagnosis of yeast infections. Trichomoniasis, a
sexually transmitted infection, and other types of vaginal infections have
symptoms similar to yeast infections. This makes it imperative to confirm that you
actually have yeast infection before starting medication. Although creams and
suppositories are sold as OTC medications, you will need prescription for oral
medicines.

Before resorting to strong medications, you could try the following alternate
treatments for yeast infections:

· Tea Tree Oil: Seek professional advice before trying this treatment. Tea
tree oil suppositories kill yeast infections present in the vagina.
· Yogurt: Many women suffering from yeast infections apply un-pasteurized
yogurt, which contains lactobacillus acidophilus or 'good' bacteria, directly into
the vagina. You could use a small spoon, a spatula or an old vaginal cream
applicator, to apply yogurt at night for three to seven nights to restore the
balance of bacteria in your vagina. You may need to put on a sanitary pad to avoid
messiness.

Avoiding Yeast Infections


Yeast infections, unfortunately, tend to recur. To prevent recurrence, or to
prevent having it in the first place, you could try the following:

· During shower, wash the vaginal area to keep it clean, and completely dry it
before dressing.
· Cotton panties and pantyhose with a cotton crotch are preferable.
· Do not share towels.
· Undergarments should be washed in hot water and avoid using softeners.
· After a swim or a workout, change your clothes immediately.
· Do not use scented sanitary pads or tampons, and frequently change them.
· Avoid douching, using heavily scented soaps, perfumes and talcum powders.
· During sex, ensure your vagina is well lubricated, and use water-soluble
lubricating jells.
· It is better to avoid sex, if it is painful.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not
intended as medical advice.