Vaginal yeast infection

Vaginal yeast infection (vulvovaginal candidiasis) is an excess growth of yeast organisms in the vagina. It causes itching, swelling, and pain during urination and intercourse, and produces a thick, white discharge from the vagina.

Although symptoms are bothersome and can cause severe discomfort, yeast infections rarely lead to serious health problems.

Vaginal yeast infection is common among women of childbearing age but can occur in women of any age. Certain factors increase the risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection. These include using antibiotics, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or corticosteroids; being pregnant; douching; and wearing tight-fitting clothes. Immune system problems, diabetes, and other diseases also increase the risk of yeast infections.

Vaginal yeast infections can go away on their own; persistent infections are treated with medications.

Last Updated: June 17, 2008

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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