Monday, February 2, 2015

Yeast Infection : What you should know

By Meluse Kapatamoyo
I would like to welcome you all to the new year. Apologies that it has taken me a little longer than usual to get down to responding to your queries. It could not be helped. I had to let our consulting doctors enjoy the festive holiday.

So, our first query for the year 2015 is on Yeast Infection. I spoke to Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu, a consultant Gynaecologist at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).

Pokeyourmind :  What is Yeast Infection and how common is this condition among women?

Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu
Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu : Yeast infection is a result of over growth of a fungus Candida Albicans, which is normally found in small amounts in the vagina. There are reasons why it can grow out of control e.g.
(a) Change in the acidity of the vagina caused by washing the vagina, outing detergents, powders and chemicals in the vagina, long term use of antibiotics which destroy necessary acid forming vaginal bacteria, douching, or even herbs or wearing tight or wet underwear.

(b) change in the sugar levels as in diabetes

(c) change in hormone profiles particularly in late stages of pregnancy when estrogens and progesterones increase including external sourced cortisones found in skin toning medicines normally used by many women to look brown

(d) change in the immunity status whether by untreated HIV or by taking drugs that lower immunity.

Pokeyourmind : Can it be sexually transmitted?

Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu : It can be transmitted by oral sex or penetrative sex although men don't usually have prolonged genital yeast.  Oral sex transmission is because the mouth can have yeast, a condition called thrush or candidiasis.

Pokeyourmind : What type of treatment is recommended?

Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu : Symptoms such as excessive discharge, itching or burning/itching urination signify yeast infection. It is important to see a doctor since the root cause must be detected. Some treatments that require insertion medications are not good in state of pregnancy. All these cautions need a doctor to verify. Many people treat themselves wrongly with antibiotics or metronidazole making the situation worse.

Pokeyourmind : Can women continue to be sexually active while receiving treatment?

Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu : It is advisable to stop sex during treatment until treatment ends.

Pokeyourmind : What preventive measures should women take to avoid getting the infection?

Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu : Prevention measures include not wearing tight or wet clothing, removing swimming clothes immediately and anal wiping direction from front to back. It is equally important to AVOID washing the vagina using detergents, powders and chemicals. Avoid long term use of antibiotics which destroy necessary acid forming vaginal bacteria, douching, or even herbs.
Pokeyourmind : Are there any special foods that women should be eating to avoid infection?
Dr Mulindi Mwanahamuntu : Diet is not emphasized, but a good intake of yogurt after a course of antibiotics or general poor health is encouraged as this may restore normal levels of a bacteria called lactobacillus, through a "desirable" anal vaginal cross contamination. PYM