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Yeast infection

  • Overview


    A vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis, is a fungal infection that leads to irritation, discharge, and intense itching of the vagina and vulva — the tissues surrounding the vaginal opening.

    This common condition affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lives, with many experiencing recurring episodes. While not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, the risk of a vaginal yeast infection increases with the onset of regular sexual activity, and there’s emerging evidence linking infections to oral-genital contact.

    Effective medications are available to treat vaginal yeast infections. For those with recurrent cases (four or more within a year), a more extended treatment course and ongoing management plan may be necessary.

  • Symptoms


    Symptoms of a yeast infection can vary in intensity and may encompass:

    • Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
    • A burning sensation, particularly during intercourse or urination
    • Redness and swelling of the vulva
    • Vaginal pain and soreness
    • Development of a vaginal rash
    • Presence of thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge resembling cottage cheese
    • Discharge that is watery in nature
  • When to see a doctor


    Abnormal symptoms may be a warning sign of potential dangerous diseases. Please contact our team of doctors immediately for detailed advice and update the most accurate and appropriate health care method.

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  • Causes


    The predominant cause of most vaginal yeast infections is the fungus Candida albicans.

    Your vaginal environment naturally hosts a harmonious mixture of yeast, including candida, and bacteria. Specific bacteria, such as lactobacillus, work to maintain this equilibrium and prevent an overabundance of yeast.

    However, this balance can be disrupted. An excessive growth of candida or the infiltration of the fungus into deeper layers of vaginal cells can lead to the manifestation of yeast infection symptoms.

    Several factors can contribute to yeast overgrowth:

    • Usage of antibiotics, which upsets the natural vaginal flora balance
    • Pregnancy
    • Uncontrolled diabetes
    • Compromised immune system
    • Consumption of oral contraceptives or hormone therapy that elevate estrogen levels

    Candida albicans is the most prevalent fungus variety responsible for yeast infections. Infections caused by other candida fungus types might be more challenging to treat and usually require more intensive therapeutic approaches.

  • Risk factors


    Factors that elevate your susceptibility to developing a yeast infection encompass:

    • Antibiotic utilization: Women undergoing antibiotic treatment are prone to yeast infections. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, designed to eliminate a spectrum of bacteria, can also eliminate healthy vaginal bacteria, facilitating yeast overgrowth.
    • Elevated estrogen levels: Yeast infections are more prevalent in women with heightened estrogen levels, including pregnant women or those using high-dose estrogen birth control pills or estrogen hormone therapy.
    • Uncontrolled diabetes: Women with poorly managed blood sugar are at an escalated risk of yeast infections compared to those with well-regulated blood sugar.
    • Compromised immune system: Women with weakened immunity, as seen with corticosteroid therapy or HIV infection, have an increased likelihood of contracting yeast infections.
  • Prevention


    To minimize your vulnerability to vaginal yeast infections, opt for underwear with a cotton crotch that isn’t excessively snug. Additionally, consider avoiding:

    • Tight-fitting pantyhose
    • Douching, as it diminishes the beneficial vaginal bacteria guarding against infection
    • Fragrant feminine products like bubble bath, pads, and tampons
    • Prolonged exposure to hot tubs and extremely hot baths
    • Unwarranted antibiotic consumption, like for colds or viral infections
    • Prolonged use of damp clothing, such as swimsuits or workout gear.
  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023