Learn About Vaginal Yeast Infection

What is the definition of Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Vaginal yeast infection is an infection of the vagina. It is most commonly due to the fungus Candida albicans.

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What are the alternative names for Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Yeast infection - vagina; Vaginal candidiasis; Monilial vaginitis

What are the causes of Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Most women have a vaginal yeast infection at some time. Candida albicans is a common type of fungus. It is often found in small amounts in the vagina, mouth, digestive tract, and on the skin. Most of the time, it does not cause infection or symptoms.

Candida and the many other germs that normally live in the vagina keep each other in balance. Sometimes the number of candida increases. This leads to a yeast infection.

This can happen if:

  • You are taking antibiotics used to treat another infection. Antibiotics change the normal balance between germs in the vagina.
  • You are pregnant
  • You are obese
  • You have diabetes
  • You are taking medicines or have an illness that suppresses your immune system.

A yeast infection is not spread through sexual contact. However, some men may develop symptoms after having sexual contact with an infected partner. These symptoms may include itching, rash or irritation of the penis.

Having many vaginal yeast infections may be a sign of other health problems. Other vaginal infections and discharges can be mistaken for a vaginal yeast infection.

What are the symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Symptoms include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge. Discharge can range from slightly watery, white discharge to thick, white, and chunky (like cottage cheese).
  • Itching and burning of the vagina and labia
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Redness and swelling of the skin just outside of the vagina (vulva)
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What are the current treatments for Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Medicines to treat vaginal yeast infections are available as creams, ointments, vaginal tablets or suppositories and oral tablets. Most can be bought without needing to see your provider. If you do need to see your provider, you may wish to ask them about the use of boric acid for yeast infections.

Treating yourself at home is probably OK if:

  • Your symptoms are mild and you do not have pelvic pain or a fever
  • This is not your first yeast infection and you have not had many yeast infections in the past
  • You are not pregnant
  • You are not worried about other sexually transmitted infections (STI) from recent sexual contact

Medicines you can buy yourself to treat a vaginal yeast infection are:

  • Miconazole
  • Clotrimazole
  • Tioconazole
  • Butoconazole

When using these medicines:

  • Read the packages carefully and use them as directed.
  • You will need to take the medicine for 1 to 7 days, depending on which medicine you buy. (If you do not get repeated infections, a 1-day medicine might work for you.)
  • Do not stop using these medicines early because your symptoms are better.

You doctor can also prescribe a pill that you only take by mouth once.

If your symptoms are worse or you get vaginal yeast infections often, you may need:

  • Medicine for up to 14 days
  • Azole vaginal cream or fluconazole pill every week to prevent new infections

To help prevent and treat vaginal discharge:

  • Keep your genital area clean and dry. Avoid soap and rinse with water only. Sitting in a warm, but not hot, bath may help your symptoms.
  • Avoid douching. Although many women feel cleaner if they douche after their period or intercourse, it may worsen vaginal discharge. Douching removes healthy bacteria lining the vagina that protect against infection.
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures or take Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets when you are on antibiotics. This may help to prevent a yeast infection.
  • Use condoms to avoid catching or spreading other infections.
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, fragrances, or powders in the genital area.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants or shorts. These may cause irritation and sweating.
  • Wear cotton underwear or cotton-crotch pantyhose. Avoid underwear made of silk or nylon. These can increase sweating in the genital area, which leads to growth of more yeast.
  • Keep your blood sugar level under good control if you have diabetes.
  • Avoid wearing wet bathing suits or exercise clothing for long periods of time. Wash sweaty or wet clothes after each use.
Who are the top Vaginal Yeast Infection Local Doctors?
Highly rated in
Infectious Disease

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Michail Lionakis is an Infectious Disease doctor in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Dr. Lionakis is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Vaginal Yeast Infection. He is also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Vaginal Yeast Infection, Primary Immunodeficiency, HIV/AIDS, and Familial Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis. He is licensed to treat patients in Maryland.

Highly rated in
Infectious Disease

VHS of Michigan

University Physician Group

3901 Chrysler Dr 
Detroit, MI 48201

Jack Sobel is an Infectious Disease doctor in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Sobel has been practicing medicine for over 57 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Vaginal Yeast Infection. He is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Vaginal Yeast Infection, Trichomoniasis, Familial Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis, and Menopause. He is licensed to treat patients in Michigan. Dr. Sobel is currently accepting new patients.

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Highly rated in
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Jefferson Health

Jefferson University Physician

833 Chestnut St 
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Paul Nyirjesy is an Obstetrics and Gynecologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Nyirjesy has been practicing medicine for over 37 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Vaginal Yeast Infection. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Vulvovaginitis, Vaginal Yeast Infection, Thrush, and Trichomoniasis. He is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania. Dr. Nyirjesy is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Most of the time, symptoms go away completely with proper treatment.

What are the possible complications of Vaginal Yeast Infection?

A lot of scratching may cause the skin to crack, making you more likely to get a skin infection.

A woman may have diabetes or weak immune system (such as in HIV) if:

  • The infection recurs right after treatment
  • The yeast infection does not respond well to treatment
When should I contact a medical professional for Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Call your provider if:

  • This is the first time that you have had symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection.
  • You are not sure if you have a yeast infection.
  • Your symptoms don't go away after using over-the-counter medicines.
  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You develop other symptoms.
  • You may have been exposed to an STI.
Candida - fluorescent stain
Female reproductive anatomy
Yeast infections
Secondary infection
Normal uterine anatomy (cut section)
What are the latest Vaginal Yeast Infection Clinical Trials?
Prospective Studies of Vaginal Yeast and Microbiome Related to Vulvovaginal Candidiasis in Canadian Females
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Impact of the Use of Biomarkers on Early Discontinuation of Empirical Antifungal Therapy in Critically Ill Patients: a Randomized Controlled Study.
What are the Latest Advances for Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Ibrexafungerp for the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Clinic and treatment of the oral candidiasis.
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Rituximab as Maintenance Therapy in Type 1 Autoimmune Pancreatitis: An Italian Experience.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : July 13, 2021
Published By : John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Superficial fungal infections. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 13.

Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Genital tract infections: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, Lobo RA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 23.

Kauffman CA, Pappas PG. Candidiasis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 318.

Oquendo Del Toro HM, Hoefgen HR. Vulvovaginitis. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 564.