By the way, doctor: Why am I still getting yeast infections?

Q. I recently developed a vaginal yeast infection — a surprise, because I haven't had one in many years. Aren't these infections unusual in postmenopausal women?

A. About 75% of women will have at least one episode of vaginal yeast infection, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, at some point in their lives. Though yeast infections are not as common after menopause, they still account for some cases of vaginitis (vaginal inflammation) and are more common in women taking hormone therapy. The microorganism Candida albicans is usually responsible. Candida organisms are normally present in the vagina, mouth, and digestive tract. They usually coexist peacefully with bacteria and contribute to a healthful balance of vaginal microorganisms. Infection occurs only when there is an overgrowth of Candida.

One cause of yeast overgrowth is the use of antibiotics, which are helpful in treating urinary tract and other infections but can also kill bacteria that help keep yeast under control. It's common to develop a yeast infection after completing a round of antibiotics.

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