Many women experience vaginal yeast infections during their lifespan. Often resulting in uncomfortable symptoms like burning, itching, and a white discharge, this infection impacts the vagina and the area around it, the vulva.
A yeast infection is caused by several different fungi that normally grow in the body. (Yeast is a kind of fungus.) A change in the chemical balance in the vagina allows the fungus to grow too rapidly and cause symptoms.
Yeast infections most often occur in a woman's vagina. Yeast infections can occur in other parts of the body and in men. Though uncomfortable, yeast infections are not serious and can be cured. It is not considered a sexually transmitted disease.
Less common symptoms:
The fungus that causes yeast infections is a normal inhabitant of the vagina. Usually it exists in small numbers and causes no symptoms. At certain times, these normal fungi overgrow the healthy bacteria and symptoms of a yeast infection occur. Some factors that can contribute to the fungi growing more than they should are:
See your healthcare provider and:
Yes. Yeast infections can recur. About 5-8% of women find that they get recurrent yeast infections, which is defined as more than 4 infections per year.
Vaginal discharges have several different causes. If you are fairly certain that you have a yeast infection, you can treat yourself. See your healthcare provider promptly if the symptoms do not improve.
Creams and suppositories can be purchased from a drugstore and used to treat the infection. It's important to follow all of the directions on the product label.
Sometimes yeast infections are treated with medicines taken by the mouth. These must be ordered by your healthcare provider.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 01/29/2018