Symptoms of and Tips/Advice on How to Treat Candida
That hot, uncomfortable sensation in your genital area accompanied by an impossible-to-ignore urge to scratch, Candida is an unpleasant condition which is difficult to manage if left untreated.
Candida Albicans – more commonly known as vaginal thrush – is a type of fungal infection that affects more than half of all women at some point during their life. Unfortunately, some women suffer repeated attacks which can make life feel rather miserable.
If you have suffered from it yourself, you will know how sore the condition can make you feel and the impact it can have. We take a look in more detail at the symptoms of Candida and the best ways to treat it.
You know its Candida when….
Any problems in the genital area can sometimes be met with embarrassment but Candida is a surprisingly common condition.
The symptoms themselves can be difficult to deal with, and can make social situations particularly uncomfortable. Imagine sitting in a room full of people and being overwhelmed by the need to constantly scratch!
Candida is a fairly distinctive condition which is easy to self-diagnose in most cases, although if in doubt, you should always consult your GP. The symptoms to watch out for include:
- Hot sensation
- Soreness around your vaginal entrance
- Discomfort or a stinging sensation during urination and sexual intercourse
- An odourless discharge which is different from what is normal for you. It can be either thin and water or thick, white and clumpy (often described as resembling cottage cheese).
In very severe cases you might even suffer cracked skin around the entrance to your vagina.
If you have had Candida before you will probably recognize the symptoms straight away if they recur. Severe cases are usually described as those where there have been more than four occurrences in any given year.
What to do…
There are primarily two approaches of how to treat Candida.
Firstly, prevention. There is absolutely no question that prevention is better than cure because once you have it, you will have to endure even a short period of discomfort and it will take a while for things to completely return to normal.
Anything which disturbs the natural balance of the vagina can help Candida to flourish so it’s a good idea to try and reduce any outside influences. Heavily scented bubble baths, douches and vaginal deodorants can all upset the pH levels and allow Candida to take hold. This doesn’t mean you need to only bathe in plain water, just choose gentle products instead.
Let’s talk underwear too. Silky knickers look great but if you’re prone to getting Candida you should try and stick to natural breathable fabrics such as cotton. Because Candida appears when there is an overgrowth of yeast, constricting airflow and trapping moisture can be a short route to the condition. If you are really prone to recurrences, you might want to even consider going without underwear completely for a short time but if you choose to go down this path, avoiding short skirts and sticking to trousers is probably advisable!
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts you might still develop Candida. This is because it can sometimes be caused by reasons outside your control. For example, being prescribed antibiotics, pregnancy and diabetes are all factors in the condition.
It’s therefore worth knowing what to do if you suffer a break out. The good news is that it’s highly treatable and you should be able to cure the condition and relieve all the symptoms within a very short space of time. If you approach your GP they will prescribe you a medication to help clear things up.
However, in the vast majority of cases, treatment from a doctor is simply not necessary. There are many over the counter treatments available which are effective in providing immediate relief of your symptoms whilst simultaneously getting rid of the condition. These can come either in the form of an oral treatment or a topical cream or pessary. Many women prefer one of the latter two as it not only feels extremely soothing straight away, there are few if any side effects.
Over the counter treatments tend to be much gentler than prescribed medication and work by restoring the pH level of the vagina. By restoring healthy flora rather than stripping away natural bacteria, the chances of a recurrence are also significantly reduced.
In addition to over the counter treatments, you can also try some natural therapies too. One of the most commonly-used remedies is natural live yogurt. This should be applied topically to the area and will relieve itching and soreness as well as helping to restore the pH level of the vagina. It can be a rather messy treatment so the easiest way to apply it is dipping a tampon into the yogurt and then inserting it.
Despite being a very curable condition, the symptoms that Candida causes can create lots of discomfort and soreness. However, regardless of how intense your symptoms may be, just by taking a simple over the counter remedy, you should be able to find yourself free of the condition in no time at all.