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Yeast Infection

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Yeast Infection

What is a yeast infection?
How does someone get a yeast infection?
What are the risk factors for getting a yeast infection?
How can you protect yourself from getting a yeast infection?
What are some symptoms of yeast infection?
Can yeast infection lead to other health problems?
What is the impact of yeast infection on pregnancy?
How is a yeast infection diagnosed?
Is there a treatment or cure for yeast infection?

What is a yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the fungus Candida albicans. Yeast infection is also called candidiasis.

How does someone get a yeast infection?

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast that are often present in low numbers in the vagina. Pregnancy, antibiotics, and frequent exposure to semen over a short period of time can all lead to an overgrowth of these organisms.

What are the risk factors for getting a yeast infection?

There are several factors that can disturb the normal environment of the vagina and lead to a yeast infection. These factors include:

  • Recent antibiotic use
  • Hormone changes associated with pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause
  • Douching and feminine-hygiene products such as vaginal sprays and wipes
  • Spermicides
  • Immune suppression resulting from medication (like steroids) or disease (like HIV infection/AIDS)
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Although not an STI, sex without a condom can increase the risk of yeast infections because of the effect of semen on the vaginal environment
  • STIs may increase the risk of yeast infections

How can you protect yourself from getting a yeast infection?

To reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection:

  • Avoid douching and the use of other feminine-hygiene products
  • Use condoms during sex
  • Clean reusable contraceptives (such as diaphragms, cervical caps, and spermicide applicators) well after each use
  • Wear cotton underwear

What are some symptoms of yeast infection?

Symptoms of yeast infection include:

  • Vaginal itching, irritation, or burning
  • Unusual vaginal discharge, often white and thick

Can yeast infection lead to other health problems?

There are no complications from vaginal yeast infections. If infection is severe, some women experience extreme discomfort.

What is the impact of yeast infection on pregnancy?

Although vaginitis caused by bacterial vaginosis has been linked to early labor and delivery, the role of yeast infection seems to be less clear.

How is a yeast infection diagnosed?

Yeast infections can usually be diagnosed from observation of vaginal discharge under a microscope. Sometimes, a culture of the discharge may also be done.

Is there a treatment or cure for yeast infection?

Yeast infections can be treated and cured with antifungal medication, which can come in the form of tablets, vaginal suppositories, or cream.

Male partners of women with yeast infections are not routinely treated because it does not change whether or not women get better or get the infection again.

Yeast infections are usually easy to cure, but sometimes will not resolve or keep coming back. This occurs especially when:

  • Medication is not taken as prescribed
  • The infection is a highly resistant form of Candida
  • The woman has diabetes or a weakened immune system
  • The infection is not a yeast infection, but something else

If yeast infections occur repeatedly, especially in the absence of recognized risk factors, it is a good idea to be tested for HIV infection and diabetes.



[ || Pregnancy || Informed Choice || Infections and Diseases || Quality of Care || Emerging Issues ]
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