A vaginal yeast infection is irritation of the vagina and the outside area around it, called the vulva.
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A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of fungus that is normally found in small amounts in the vagina.
Factors that may increase your chance of a yeast infection include:
Situations that can cause hormonal changes, such as
birth control pills
or menopauseBroad-spectrum antibioticsDouching—irrigating the vagina
Diabetes, especially when blood sugar is not well-controlled
A compromised immune system from health conditions, such as
HIV infection or chronic use of oral steroid medication
A vaginal yeast infection may cause: Mild to severe itchingA clumpy vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheeseSoreness, irritation, or burningRash or redness on the skin outside the vaginaPainful urinationPainful sexual intercourse
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A swab test of vaginal discharge will taken to confirm the diagnosis.
It is important to see a doctor if you have symptoms. Other health conditions, such as sexually transmitted diseases, have symptoms that are similar to a yeast infection. These can include
Depending on the severity of the infection, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medication. Antifungal medications are available as oral tablets, intravaginal creams, or suppositories.
To help reduce your chance of a yeast infection: Dry the outside vaginal area thoroughly after a shower, bath, or swim.Don't douche.If you have
diabetes, try to control your blood sugar.Avoid frequent or prolonged use of antibiotics if possible.
Vaginal yeast infection. Office on Women's Health website. Available at:
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/vaginal-yeast-infections.html. Updated January 6, 2015. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Yeast infections. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/yeast-infections.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 7, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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