Vaginal Infection: Yeast (Candidiasis)

Yeast infection occurs when yeast in the vagina increase and attacks the vaginal tissues. Yeast is a type of fungus. These infections are often caused by a type of yeast called Candida albicans. Other species of yeast can also cause infections. Factors that may make infection more likely include recent antibiotic use, douching, or increased sex. Yeast infections are more common in women who have diabetes, or are obese or pregnant, or have a weak immune system.

Symptoms of yeast infection

  • Clumpy or thin, white discharge, which may look like cottage cheese

  • No odor or minimal odor

  • Severe vaginal itching or burning

  • Burning with urination

  • Swelling, redness of vulva

  • Pain during sex

Treating yeast infection

Yeast infection is treated with a vaginal antifungal cream. In some cases, antifungal pills are prescribed instead. During treatment:

  • Finish all of your medicine, even if your symptoms go away.

  • Apply the cream before going to bed. Lie flat after applying so that it doesn't drip out.

  • Don't douche or use tampons.

  • Don't rely on a diaphragm or condoms, since the cream may weaken them.

  • Don't have intercourse if advised not to by your healthcare provider.

Should I treat a yeast infection myself?

Discuss with your healthcare provider whether you should use over-the-counter medicines to treat a yeast infection. Self-treatment may depend on whether:

  • You've had a yeast infection in the past.

  • You're at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Call your healthcare provider if symptoms don't go away or come back after treatment.

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