Vaginal Yeast Infection
Posted October 23, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read
An overgrowth of the fungus candida causes a vaginal yeast infection. A vaginal yeast infection causes the skin around your vagina to burn and itch, and it may change the consistency of your vaginal discharge. Treatment includes antifungal medication.
What is a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
A vaginal yeast infection is a type of fungal infection.
Your body contains a kind of yeast called candida, which causes vaginal yeast infections.
Yeast is a type of fungus, and candida is a specific type of yeast.
When this yeast is in balance within your body, there are no problems.
But when the yeast is out of balance, it rapidly grows, and you can get a yeast infection.
A yeast infection causes burning, itching, redness in your vulva (the outside parts of your vagina) and changes to your vaginal discharge.
A yeast infection isn’t a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
What are the symptoms of a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
There are several tell-tale signs of a vaginal yeast infection. These symptoms can include:
An itchy or burning sensation in your vagina and vulva.
A thick, white vaginal discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese.
Redness and swelling of your vagina and vulva.
Small cuts or tiny cracks in the skin of your vulva because of fragile skin in the area.
A burning feeling when you pee.
In some cases, another symptom of a vaginal yeast infection can be pain during sex.
Symptoms of a yeast infection are similar to the symptoms people feel when they have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or other vaginal infection.
Why do Vaginal Yeast Infections happen?
When the bacteria in your vagina is out of balance, it can cause candida to multiply. This can happen for a lot of reasons, including:
Taking antibiotics: Antibiotics that treat infections in your body kill the good bacteria in your vagina. Good bacteria keep the yeast in check. The balance shifts without good bacteria, leading to a yeast infection.
Pregnancy and hormones: Anything that disrupts or changes your hormones can disrupt the balance of candida in your vagina. This includes being pregnant, using birth control pills and normal changes during your menstrual cycle.
Having uncontrolled diabetes: High blood sugar impacts the bacteria in your pee.
Having a weakened immune system: If you have a disease like HIV or AIDS, your medications can suppress your immune system. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer can also suppress your immune system.
How is a Yeast Infection diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider diagnoses a vaginal yeast infection.
You’ll need to go in for an appointment and discuss your symptoms.
Your provider may need to take a sample of discharge from your vagina to confirm a yeast infection.
The combination of your symptoms and the discharge sample will tell your healthcare provider what type of yeast infection you have and how to treat it.
How do I treat a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Antifungal medications treat most vaginal yeast infections.
The specific medication depends on the severity of the infection.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe the best treatment based on your symptoms and condition.
Antifungal medications work by fighting yeast overgrowth in your body.
Medications are either oral (usually given in one dose of fluconazole by mouth) or topical (used daily for up to seven days).
You may apply topical medications to your vaginal area or place them inside your vagina (suppository) using an applicator.
Some common antifungal medications are miconazole (Monistat) and terconazole.
Your healthcare provider will give you information about each form of medication and directions on how to use each one properly.
It’s important to always follow your provider’s instructions when using these medications to make sure that the infection is fully resolved and doesn’t return.