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Vaginal Yeast Infections

Many, if not most, women will get a vaginal yeast infection at some point. Candida albicans and other germs normally live in the vagina and keep each other in balance, but a variety of things can cause an imbalance and an increase in candida albicans, which leads to a yeast infection.

A yeast infection is not an STD, but some men will develop itching or a rash when their penis comes into contact with the infection.

Symptoms

Symptoms include an abnormal vaginal discharge, usually whitish and chunky, like cottage cheese; pain during intercourse; painful urination; and vaginal itching, swelling or burning.

Getting Tested

When you suspect that you may have a yeast infection, you may be tempted to self diagnose. It’s very important, however, to see your AOA doctor and have an exam to verify that it is indeed a yeast infection and not some other kind of infection. While easily treatable, using a yeast infection treatment on another form of infection can make things worse. Your AOA doctor will perform a pelvic examination and examine a small amount of vaginal discharge under a microscope to confirm whether you have yeast infection or some other infection.

Treatment

There are over-the-counter creams or suppositories that can be used to treat a yeast infection if the diagnoses has been confirmed, if your symptoms are mild, if you are not pregnant, and if you have not had many yeast infections in the past.

Prevention

Keep your genital area clean and dry. Wear cotton underwear and avoid underwear made of silk or synthetic fibers that are not absorbent and restrict airflow. Avoid douching, as this may worsen vaginal discharge by removing the healthy bacteria lining the vagina. Eat yogurt with live cultures if you are taking antibiotics, and keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes.

Chronic or recurring infections are possible if you do not get proper treatment or have an underlying medical condition. If you find that you are getting recurring infections, talk with your AOA doctor, who can determine if the infections are symptoms of another condition.

Learn more about yeast infections:

Medline Plus - Vaginal Yeast Infections

Vaginal Yeast Infections Fact Sheet

Yeast Infections(Vaginal)