Share this page

Health Library

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 infection
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.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of a yeast infection:

  • 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

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 infection. 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. 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.



Last reviewed June 2015 by Andrea Chisholm, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Baptist Flame

Healthy Life Podcasts

1-800-948-6262

Find A Doctor

Services

Locations

Baptist Medical Clinic

Patients & Visitors

Learn

Contact Us

Physician Tools

Careers at Baptist

Employee Links

Online Services

At Baptist Health Systems

At Baptist Medical Center

close ×