Vaginal Yeast Infection

(Vaginal Candidiasis; Candida Vulvovaginitis; Yeast Infection; Monilial Vulvovaginitis; Vulvovaginal Candidiasis; VVC)
  • Definition

    A vaginal yeast infection is irritation of the vagina and the outside area around it, called the vulva.
    Vagina
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  • Causes

    A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of fungus that is normally found in small amounts in the vagina.
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of a yeast infection include:
    • Situations that can cause hormonal changes, such as birth control pills , pregnancy, menopause , or steroid use
    • Broad-spectrum antibiotics
    • Douching
    • Diabetes , especially when blood sugar is not well-controlled
    • A compromised immune system from health conditions such as HIV
  • Symptoms

    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
  • Diagnosis

    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 bacterial vaginosis , chlamydia , or gonorrhea .
  • Treatment

    Medication
    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 instructions .
  • Prevention

    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.
  • RESOURCES

    American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org

    US Office on Women's Health http://www.womenshealth.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org

    Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

    References

    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.php . 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.

    Revision Information

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