A vaginal yeast infection is caused by a yeast fungus. The fungus is called
. While yeast is common in the vagina, it can cause problems when it grows excessively. This excess growth causes the uncomfortable symptoms.
Yeast grows in conditions that are less acidic. Vaginal fluids are most often mildly acidic but this can change. For example, acid levels can go down during menstrual flow. "Good" bacteria also helps keep yeast levels in check. Conditions that decrease the good bacteria will also increase the chance of a yeast infection.
These factors increase your chance of a yeast infection. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
, especially when blood sugar is not well-controlled
A compromised immune system, such as with
Perfumed feminine hygiene sprays, deodorant tampons, or bubble bath
Tight jeans, synthetic underwear, or a wet swimsuit
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to a yeast infection. While typical of yeast infections, they may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Vaginal itching, ranging from mild to severe
A clumpy, vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese
Vaginal soreness, irritation, or burning
Rash or redness on the skin outside the vagina
Painful sexual intercourse
Your doctor will take a history. A pelvic exam will be done. Any vaginal discharge will be tested.
It is important to see a doctor the first time you have symptoms. Other infections, including may have symptoms like those of a yeast infection. This can include
If you have had a yeast infection, you may be able to recognize the signs of a new infection. In this case, it is safe to use over-the-counter medications. Talk to your doctor if you have any doubt.
Various antifungal medications are available as intravaginal creams, tablets, or suppositories:
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