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Vaginal Yeast Infection: What You Should Know

Vaginal yeast infection, also called Candidal vulvovaginitis, is a common fungal infection very common in women. It causes inflammation, irritation, itching, and vaginal discharge.

The vagina normally contains a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast. The hormone estrogen helps bacteria called lactobacilli to grow.

These bacteria kill harmful organisms in the vagina and keep you healthy. But when something happens to tip that balance, a fungus called candida can grow out of control and cause a yeast infection.

Symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include:

  • Itching, burning, or irritation of the vagina or vulva, which is the tissue surrounding the vagina.
  • Pain or soreness in the vagina or the vaginal opening.
  • Vaginal burning with intercourse or urination.
  • A thick, white, odourless discharge that resembles cottage cheese, or a watery discharge.
  • Rash

Causes Of Vaginal Yeast Infection

There are many reasons you could get a yeast infection, including:

Hormones:

Changes during pregnancy, breast-feeding or menopause (or if you’re taking birth control pills) can change the balance in your vagina.

Diabetes:

If your diabetes is not well-controlled, the increase in sugar in the mucous membranes (moist linings) of your vagina can create a place for yeast to grow.

Antibiotics:

These drugs can kill off many of the good bacteria that live in your vagina.

Flavoured condoms:

Flavoured condoms were originally invented to better oral sex experience, they are not meant for vaginal sex. Flavoured condoms contain sugar in them which can create issues for your vagina. This sugar level in condoms can affect the pH level of the vagina and even lead to a yeast infection.

A weakened immune system:

If you are HIV-positive or have another immune system disorder, the yeast may also grow uncontrolled.

Sex:

Though a yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, it can be passed from person to person through sexual contact.

Over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments or suppositories (with miconazole or clotrimazole) are the most common ways to treat yeast infections. These can take from 1 to 7 days.

If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor before treating yourself. The symptoms of yeast infections are similar to other, more serious conditions, including sexually transmitted infections.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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