Vaginal Yeast Infection

What Is It?

Vaginal yeast infections, also called "Candida vaginal infections," typically are caused by the Candida albicans fungus. During a lifetime, 75% of all women are likely to have at least one vaginal Candida infection, and up to 45% have two or more. Women tend to be more likely to get vaginal yeast infections if their bodies are under stress from poor diet, lack of sleep, illness, or when they are pregnant or taking antibiotics. Women with immune-suppressing diseases such as diabetes and HIV infection also are at increased risk.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • Vaginal itch or soreness

  • Thick, white, cheese-like discharge

  • "Burning" discomfort around the vaginal opening, especially if urine touches the area

  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will suspect an infection based on your symptoms. Your doctor will do a pelvic examination to look for inflammation and a white discharge in your vagina and around the vaginal opening. Your doctor may also take a sample of the vaginal discharge for quick examination under a microscope in the office.

Expected Duration

Proper treatment cures up to 90% of vaginal yeast infections within 2 weeks or less, often within a few days. A small number of people will have repeat infections. Usually, these will improve with repeated treatment. However, patients with unexplained, repeat episodes should be tested for diabetes or HIV – 2 conditions that can suppress the immune system and increase the risk of infections.

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