Yeast infections are a common cause of irritation of the
vagina and vulva (area around the opening to the vagina). About
75 percent of women have a vaginal yeast infection during their
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections in women may be mild or
very uncomfortable. Symptoms may include:
- Itching, burning, and irritation of the vagina
- Itching, redness and irritation of the vulva
- Painful urination and/or intercourse
- Abnormal vaginal discharge, usually described as
looking like cottage cheese. But discharge may vary in
amount and appearance. It does not have a bad odor.
Symptoms of yeast infections can be similar to symptoms of
other kinds of vaginal infections.
Conditions that may make yeast infections more likely
- Pregnancy and other
causes of hormone changes.
- Use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills).
- Diabetes that
isn't well controlled. High blood sugar can help yeast to
- A weakened immune system.
- Use of steroid drugs.
- Use of antibiotics. Antibiotic drugs kill bacteria in
the body including the vagina, allowing yeast to multiply
and cause an infection.
Yeast infections seem to be only rarely passed from one
person to another through sexual contact. A male partner of a
woman with a yeast infection usually will have no symptoms, but
some men may get an itchy rash on the penis.
Yeast infections are treated with antifungal drugs, such as
clotrimazole or miconazole. There are creams
and tablets used in the vagina, skin ointments, and pills.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a species of friendly bacteria
that is an integral part of normal vaginal flora.
Lactobacilli help to maintain the vaginal ecosystem by
preventing the overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria and Candida.
Lactobacilli produce lactic acid, which acts like a natural
Boric acid capsules inserted in the vagina have been used
successfully as a treatment for vaginal yeast infections.
References for Yeast Infection
Hilton E, Isenberg HD, Alperstein P, et al.
Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus as
prophylaxis for candidal vaginitis. Ann Intern
Jovanovic R, Congema E, Nguyen
HT. Antifungal agents vs. boric acid for treating chronic
mycotic vulvovaginitis. J Reprod
Coeugniet E, Kuhnast R.
Recurrent candidiasis: Adjuvant immunotherapy with different
formulations of Echinacin®.
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