Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
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It's a common health problem women don't like to talk about, but now a possible medical breakthrough could prevent the condition. And you can be one of the first to try it.

As the mother of four, Jennifer Karasoulis has a busy life and is tired of a chronic health problem: yeast infections.

'Very uncomfortable sensation. Very uncomfortable for me. I can't sleep at night,' said Jennifer Karasoulis, 34, who was one of the first study participants.

'It's probably the second most common type of vaginal infection in women, second to a bacterial infection. It affects up to 39 percent of women, and then about five to fight percent get a recurrence of it,' explained obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Susan Jeanfreau, who is the principal investigator on the study.

Now it's normal for people to have some yeast in their bodies, but it becomes a problem when the cells grow out of control along with producing a lot of spores.

Yeast infections are especially common in hot, humid places during the summer. Dr. Jeanfreau says women can lower their risk by getting out of sweaty workout clothes quickly and by not adding another layer of clothing, such as underwear under workout legging, panty hose and pajamas and night gowns.

There are costly prescription pills and over-the-counter creams or suppositories to treat them, but those take time to clear up the infection. But now, local doctors are part of a national study to test a vaccine for regular yeast infections in women.

Vaccines basically harness the human body's ability to protect itself and vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight infection,' said Dr. Robert Jeanfreau, an internal medicine doctor at East Jefferson General Hospital. He is also the sub-investigator on this story.

There are vaccines for viruses and bacteria, but this is the first ever for a fungus.

'I'm excited. I'm excited. It's a chance to be relieved faster,' said Karasoulis, who has already completed the study.

If this works for a specific type of vaginal yeast, it could be developed to help yeast infections in men and children and especially hospitalized patients, where large doses of antibiotics can cause yeast to grow.

Doctors are looking for women 18 to 50 years old who get chronic infections. You would join the study during an active yeast infection and will be compensated for time and travel.

To see if you qualify call 504-609-2333. For more details:

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