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What is a yeast infection and what can I do to prevent it?

A little bit of discharge is normal, but when it comes with a host of other symptoms, it's time to ask an expert.

Thick white discharge accompanied by itching and pain or burning sensation while urinating are signs that you might have a yeast infection.

OB-Gynecologist Dr. Raul Quillamor explained in an episode of Pinoy MD that the vagina is home to a healthy balance of bacteria and it typically regulates itself. However, the use of certain medication, complication from another diseases, poor hygiene, and an unhealthy diet might throw off this harmony.

Who is at risk?

Yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis is the result of the overgrowth of "bad bacteria" and Quillamor said that this is something that happens more in "compromised women."

"[Compromised women] 'yong mga matagal nag-antiobitcs o 'di kaya 'yong matagal silang nag-steroids, [women na may] diabetes mellitus, [at] puwede ring maging common infection ito during pregnancy," Quillamor said.

Poor hygiene, wearing tight pants or underwear made with synthetic fiber, and even stress also puts women at risk of getting a yeast infection.

Although more sexually active women report having a yeast infection, Quillamor clarified that there is no specific age bracket of women when women get it.

Reducing the risk of getting a yeast infection

If poor hygiene is a cause, then proper hygiene is the first step to preventing a yeast infection.

Quillamor advised women to wash with water and mild soap after urinating and stressed the importance of wiping after washing to keep the perineal area dry, as moisture encourages the growth of the bad bacteria.

It's also best to cut back on sweets, as yeast feeds on sugar. Swap the frappe with yogurt to get some probiotics in your system, but note that it is yet to be proven that there is a clear connection between the growth of yeast and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Read: V is for Vaginal Care, as prescribed by gynecologists.

The recommended undergarment are breathable ones, especially cotton, and wear comfortable pants and shorts, too. Step away from the skinny jeans!

Yogurt versus yeast?

According to the US Center for Disease Control, 75% of women will have at least one incidence of infection in her lifetime. With such common occurrence, it's no surprise that there's a wealth of home remedy suggestions out there in the Internet.

One of the more popular is douching with yogurt, but Quillamor said that this could lead to more complications

"Ito (home remedies) ay walang basehan. Walang scientific basis for this. Walang tayong magandang evidence [or] strong evidence to prove that these home remedies work," he explained.

He added, "Sana 'wag na lang munang gamitin ito kasi baka lalong lumala ang kanilang infection."

Yeast infections are treated with anti-fungal tablets or creams, which must be prescribed by the doctor. Consult as soon as you can to get immediate relief. — Aya Tantiangco/LA, GMA News