What to Know About Sex and Yeast Infections

Simply put, yeast infections are not very fun. When you’re suffering from one, it’s usually a pretty uncomfortable experience with all sorts of symptoms including burning, itching, vaginal pain, a thick discharge, and pain during sex and urination. Yeast infections are fairly common, affecting 75% of women at some point in their lifetimes, and are caused by a fungus (or yeast) called Candida. Candida is common in the body and usually doesn’t cause any problems, but it can multiply and lead to an infection in cases where the vaginal environment is altered.

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With treatment, yeast infections typically clear up within a week. In the meantime, you may find yourself wondering whether it’s okay to have sex, and the short answer is no. You should hold off until your yeast infection is gone. Here are a few reasons why:

Discomfort
When you have a yeast infection, you’re usually not feeling well in the vaginal area, and sex isn’t going to make things any better. Seriously. In fact, having sex when you’re already suffering from itching, burning, and other symptoms can make you feel even worse.

Prolonging your yeast infection
In some cases, engaging in sexual activity can even make your yeast infection stick around longer, or lead to the reappearance of symptoms that recently went away. One reason for this is because many yeast infection medications are taken vaginally and sex can interfere with your medication and push it out from the vagina.

You may pass it on to your partner
It’s not the most common occurrence, but it is possible to pass along a yeast infection to a male or female partner when engaging in sexual activity. Among men, transmission is more likely in certain situations, such as when he’s uncircumcised, has recently been taking antibiotics for a prolonged period of time, is overweight, has poor hygiene, or has an impaired immune system. Fortunately, yeast infections can usually be cleared up pretty easily among both men and women with an over-the-counter antifungal.

What to do if you or your partner is infected with a yeast infection
When you have a yeast infection, it’s important to take medication. It’s a good idea to start with an over-the-counter antifungal medication found at the drugstore. These are available in different varieties—some only require one dose, while others are taken over the course of a few days or a week. If over-the-counter antifungals don’t work, get in touch with your gynecologist who will be able to write you a prescription for something different, such as an oral antifungal or one that’s taken over a longer period of time.

If you and your partner are both suffering from a yeast infection, make sure you both receive treatment before resuming sexual activity. You may think you’re in the clear if your symptoms have gone by the wayside, but if your partner is still suffering, your symptoms may reappear after resuming sexual activity, too. For the best health in the long run, you’ll both want to be feeling better before having sex.

If you have any concerns about a yeast infection and want an appointment with an experienced doctor, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit us at www.aoafamily.com.

STD Rates Are on the Rise

STD rates in the United States have experienced a sharp rise over the past four years and recently reached an all-time high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2017 alone, more than 2.3 million cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis were diagnosed, which was 200,000 cases more than in the year prior.

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When you look at the statistics closely, they’re pretty alarming. Primary and secondary syphilis rates rose a staggering 76%, while gonorrhea saw a 67% increase, and chlamydia rose to a total of more than 1.7 million cases. Somewhere around 45% of these chlamydia diagnoses were in young women between the ages of 15 and 24.

What happens when these illnesses are left untreated?
Despite the alarming number of diagnoses, the truth is that many cases go undiagnosed. Without treatment, sexually transmitted diseases continue to spread and can lead to a host of health problems like ectopic pregnancy, infertility, stillbirth, and increased risk of HIV. Chlamydia can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a harmful illness that can permanently damage the reproductive system. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in protecting your health.

Preventing a continued rise in STD rates
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can all be cured with antibiotics, but many cases go undiagnosed and untreated. This lack of treatment is a big contributor to why the illnesses continue to spread at such high rates.

In a CDC press briefing this fall, Edward Hook, a physician and director of the CDC funded STD Prevention Training Center, urged the importance of routine testing in preventing the spread of disease. Due to the high rates of chlamydia detected in young women, he recommends that all sexually active women who are under the age of 26 are tested for chlamydia each year. Education is also important here, and though budgets for STD-prevention public health programs have been cut in recent years, maintaining an open dialogue about STDs with your doctor can help keep you informed.

To prevent against the harmful effects of STDs, it’s important to take an active role in your health. This can be done through communicating with your doctor, asking them any questions you may have, making sure you get tested regularly if it’s suggested by your doctor, and following treatment plans if and when any STDs are diagnosed. Remember, the earlier the treatment, the better.

If you have any concerns about STDs, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a medical professional. To make an appointment, call us at 602-343-6174 or visit us at www.aoafamily.com.

Enlarged Ovaries: Should You Be Concerned?

Your ovaries can become enlarged for many reasons. Some of these conditions are completely harmless and others are a cause for concern. Typically, an enlarged ovary is more concerning in a woman who has already reached menopause and is no longer ovulating, compared with someone who’s still menstruating.  Follow along to learn about the various conditions can trigger the appearance of enlarged or swollen ovaries:

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a fairly common illness in which a woman has higher than normal levels of sex hormones known as androgens. Women with PCOS experience a range of symptoms including pelvic pain, facial hair, missed periods, heavy periods, and more. In many cases, the hormone imbalance leads to the development of cysts in the ovaries, which can then cause swelling. Typically, PCOS can be treated but not cured.

Ovulation
Sometimes enlarged ovaries aren’t anything to worry about and are simply due to ovulation. Typically, a woman’s ovaries will swell just before ovulation, which takes place about 14 days into the cycle.  This swelling is temporary and will subside after an egg is released.

Ovarian Cancer
Swollen ovaries can also be due to ovarian cancer. In this case, the swelling  accompanies other symptoms like bloating, abdominal and pelvic pain, a frequent need to urinate, quickly feeling full, weight loss, and more. Ovarian cancer can strike at any age, but it’s most common in women who are between 50- and 60-years-old. If you have any symptoms you’re concerned about, it’s important to see a doctor, as outcomes are best when ovarian cancer is caught early.

Endometriosis
Endometriosis is an illness that occurs when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus on other areas of the body where it doesn’t belong, such as the ovaries. In some cases, this can contribute to ovarian swelling and inflammation. This painful illness is fairly common, affecting more than 10% of women who fall between the ages of 15 and 44.

Endometriosis is treated in a number of ways, including pain medication, birth control pills, medications called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, and a few different types of surgery.

Benign ovarian cysts
Benign ovarian cysts are non-cancerous fluid-filled sacs that form on or within the ovaries. A few different types may form, and they’re most common during a woman’s menstruating years. Most of the time, benign ovarian cysts resolve on their own and are nothing to worry about.

Ovarian Tumors
Ovarian tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous and are usually accompanied by symptoms like bloating, indigestion, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or constipation. Depending on the type of tumor, treatment options might be surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this piece or have any concerns about potential ovarian swelling, it’s important to visit a doctor. To make an appointment, call us at 602-343-6174 or visit us at www.aoafamily.com.