Vaginal yeast infection also called vaginal candidiasis is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge, and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva (the tissues at the vaginal opening).
Vaginal yeast infection affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetimes. Many women experience at least two episodes.
vaginal candidiasis isn’t considered a sexually transmitted infection (STIs). But, there’s an increased risk of vaginal yeast infection at the time of first regular sexual activity.
There’s also some evidence that infections may be linked to mouth to genital contact (oral-genital sex).
Vaginal yeast infections are generally relatively mild infections.
The symptoms are very recognizable and include
- Itching or soreness of the vagina ( redness and swelling of the vulva).
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Changes in vaginal discharge (A thick, white vaginal discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese).
With a more severe infection, there may be redness and cracking of the skin. This can be painful. However, for most people, itching is the main symptom of a vaginal yeast infection.
Sometimes you can treat a vaginal yeast infection with over-the-counter medicines. However, you may want to avoid this if you aren’t completely sure that it’s a yeast infection.
It is usually best to talk to your healthcare provider, your healthcare provider may discuss different types of treatment depending on the type of yeast infection and make sure you are getting the right treatment for the condition.
You often can prevent vaginal yeast infections by making a few lifestyle changes. These changes can include:
Not douching—douching can kill bacteria that controls fungus.
Avoiding the use of feminine deodorants.
Not using deodorant (scented) tampons or pads.
Changing out of wet clothing, especially bathing suits, as soon as you can.
Using water-based sexual lubricants.
If you have diabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Controlling your diabetes can help prevent vaginal yeast infections.
The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are similar to other conditions. If you have any questions, a physical exam by your healthcare provider will help.