Vaginal infections and vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina, are very common — so much so that most women will experience one or the other, and likely both, during their lifetime.
Symptoms of either a vaginal infection or vaginitis may include vaginal discharge, itching, burning, pain, and a strong odor. While some vaginal infections are caused by sexually transmitted diseases, other very common ones are not.
A normal, healthy vagina contains bacteria and sometimes yeast without necessarily having an infection. But certain things can change the environment in the vagina, enabling bacterial or yeast overgrowth and causing symptoms
Vaginal infections can have plenty of different causes, and they’re fairly common. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says up to a third of people with vaginas will develop vaginitis at some point in life. These infections can happen at any time, but they’re most common during your reproductive years, or your late teens to early 40s.
What is Xasten?
Xasten is a brand of dexamethasone oral tablet, a prescription medication used to treat conditions that cause inflammation, conditions related to immune system activity, and hormone deficiency. These conditions include:
- allergic reactions
- rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and acute gouty arthritis
- skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), pemphigus, severe erythema multiforme (Stevens-Johnson syndrome), exfoliative dermatitis, bullous dermatitis herpetiformis, severe seborrheic dermatitis, severe psoriasis, or mycosis fungoides
- flare-ups of intestinal diseases, such as ulcerative colitis
- flare-ups of multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis
- pretreatment for chemotherapy to reduce inflammation and side effects from cancer medications
- certain leukemias and lymphomas
- adrenal insufficiency (a condition where the adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones)
How Xasten works
Xasten belongs to a class of drugs called steroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
- For conditions with inflammation: With certain conditions, inflammation can cause the immune system to be overactive. This can damage the body’s tissues. Steroids such as Xasten help block the immune system’s response to inflammation, which helps prevent this damage.
- For adrenal insufficiency: The adrenal gland helps control certain body functions. These functions include managing blood glucose, defending against infection, and managing stress. In people with adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal gland releases lower amounts of certain hormones. Xasten helps replace these hormones.
In many countries including Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, Xasten is often misused as a weight gain medication because of its ability to increase appetite and cause a build up (retention) of fluid.
Can Xasten Cause Infection?
Yes, taking Xasten lowers the performance of your immune system making you more susceptible to vaginal infections by reducing the number of antifungal bacteria in your vagina, leading to an overgrowth of yeast. This overgrowth can cause symptoms of a yeast infection.
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include burning, itching, and thick, white discharge. Yeast infections are easy to treat, but it is important to see your doctor or nurse if you think you have an infection. Yeast infection symptoms are similar to other vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you have a more serious infection and not a yeast infection, it can lead to major health problems.
Other causes of vaginal infection include:
- Douching, or rinsing the vagina with water or other liquid
- Female hormone level changes
- Taking antibiotics
- Vaginal intercourse
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
While not all of these can be avoided, douching is unnecessary and potentially harmful.