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
menopause, or steroid use
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics
- Diabetes, especially when blood sugar is not well-controlled
A compromised immune system from health conditions such as
A vaginal yeast infection may cause:
- Mild to severe itching
- A clumpy vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese
- Soreness, irritation, or burning
- Rash or redness on the skin outside the vagina
- Painful urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
Your doctor will ask 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.
If you are diagnosed with a yeast infection, follow your doctor's
To help reduce your chance of getting a yeast infection, take these steps:
- Dry the outside vaginal area thoroughly after a shower, bath, or swim.
- Don't douche unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- If you have
diabetes, try to control your blood sugar.
- Avoid frequent or prolonged use of antibiotics if possible.
Vaginal yeast infections fact sheet. US Office on Women's Health website. Available at:
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/vaginal-yeast-infections.html. Updated July 16, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2013.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis.EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated July 18, 2013. Accessed July 26, 2013.
Yeast infections. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/yeast-infections.html. Updated August 2010. Accessed July 26, 2013.
Last reviewed July 2013 by Andrea Chisholm; Brian Randall, 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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