What is Vaginal candidiasis (vaginal yeast infection)
Vaginal candidiasis is a type of fungal infection caused by a yeast called Candida in the vagina. This particular yeast is normally found in the body like the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, however, Candida can cause an infection if there is a change such as hormones, medicines, or changes in the immune system which makes the infection more likely to happen. Vaginal candidiasis is common, and it is reported as the second most common type of vaginal infection after bacterial vaginal infections in the United States. Vaginal candidiasis is often mild, but some women can develop severe infections that involve redness, swelling, and cracks in the wall of the vagina.
Symptoms of a yeast infection can include vaginal itching or soreness, pain during sex or when urinating, and abnormal vaginal discharge (thick, white, like cottage cheese). Women who are pregnant, using hormonal contraceptives, have diabetes, have a weakened immune system, or those who are currently or have recently taken antibiotics are prone to getting yeast infections.
Prevention and Treatment
To prevent yeast infections, wearing cotton underwear might help reduce the chances of getting it. Taking antibiotics can also lead to getting yeast infections, so only take antibiotics when prescribed to do so by your healthcare provider.
Yeast infections can be treatable with antifungal medicine. It can either be treated with an antifungal medicine applied inside the vagina or an oral dose of fluconazole. If the symptoms get worse, other medicines can be applied in the vagina like boric acid, nystatin, or flucytosine.
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—Written by Megan Enciso (MPH Candidate, USC). Reviewed by Adriana Bakhoum MPH.