by Calvagna M

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
Nuclus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











1 Diaper Rash condition

A diaper rash is a skin irritation under your baby’s diaper. The rash can be on the abdomen, genitals, and in the folds of the buttocks and thighs. Most babies develop a ...

2 Thrush-Adult condition

Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by a fungus. It usually begins on the tongue and inside of the cheeks, and spread to the roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils, and ...

Meningitis happens when the spinal column and brain’s lining become inflamed. This lining is called the meninges. Aseptic meningitis occurs when there are signs of mening...

5 Onychomycosis condition

Onychomycosis is an infection of the nail caused by a fungus. The infection occurs more often on toenails than fingernails....

The endocardium is a thin layer of membrane (tissue) that covers the inner surface of the heart. Bacterial endocarditis is an infection of this membrane. Infection occurs...

7 Thrush-Child condition

Thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth. It usually begins on the tongue and inside of the cheeks, and may spread to the palate, gums, tonsils, and throat. Severe, unt...