What you need to know about your Vaginal Yeast Infection
Do you have signs and symptoms of vaginal itching, burning and whitish discharge?
You might have a vaginal yeast infection.
The symptoms of vaginal yeast infection (candidiasis) may include:
- Itching or soreness of the vagina
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pain or discomfort when urinating
- Abnormal whitish vaginal discharge
What is a vaginal yeast infection?
Vaginal yeast infection is caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. Candida normally lives inside the body (in places such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina) and on skin without causing any problems. Sometimes Candida can multiply and cause an infection if the environment inside the vagina changes in a way that encourages its growth. Candidiasis in the vagina is commonly called a “vaginal yeast infection.” Other names for this infection are “vaginal candidiasis,” “vulvovaginal candidiasis,” or “candidal vaginitis.”
Who gets vaginal candidiasis?
Vaginal candidiasis is common and those women who are more likely to get it include:
- birth control (for example, hormonal contraceptives)
- weakened immune system (for example, due to HIV infection or medicines that weaken the immune system, such as steroids and chemotherapy)
- recently taken antibiotics
When to Seek Medical Care
If you have symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection (candidiasis) it is usually treated with antifungal medications. For most infections, the treatment is an antifungal medicine applied inside the vagina or a single dose of medication orally. Vaginal creams can be purchased Over The Counter (OTC) and used for 3, 5 or 7 days (example is Monistat). You may not like to use the cream nightly for so many days. In those situations, a single dose of fluconazole (Diflucan) can be taken by mouth.
Other treatments may be needed for infections that are more severe, that don’t get better, or that keep coming back after getting better. These treatments include more doses of fluconazole taken by mouth or other medicines applied inside the vagina, such as boric acid, nystatin, or flucytosine.
An in person exam might be necessary if you have a vaginal discharge that is not yeast like or is proving difficult to treat or if you have any concern for a sexually transmitted infection (new partners, not using condoms)