- Caused by a fungus
- Occurs when the normal environment of the vagina is unbalanced
- Common diagnosis in women with vaginal symptom
- Approximately 75% of all women will experience a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime
- Prevalence is higher during pregnancy
How do you get it?
The following can cause yeast infections: changes in hormone levels during menstruation; pregnancy; use of oral contraceptives; use of antibiotics (which destroy the normal bacteria in the vagina); use of vaginal douches, perfumed or colored toilet paper, hygiene sprays; and wearing of tight, poorly ventilated clothing and nylon underwear. People who are diabetic or whose immune systems are compromised are also at risk for yeast infections. Sexual transmission accounts for only 10-27% of infections.
In females, symptoms include itching, swelling, irritation or redness around the vaginal area, increased discharge which may be thick, white and curdy (like cottage cheese in appearance). There is no or minimal odor. In males, symptoms include rash, redness and itching or burning sensation of the penis (symptoms frequently disappear after showering). Infections occur in only approximately 20% of male partners of women with yeast infections. Yeast infections are more common in uncircumcised men.
No known complications, just intense itching which may lead to a skin infection if the skin is rubbed too raw.
Yeast infections can be diagnosed through a wet mount (sample of discharge taken from the vaginal wall), vaginal culture, or a pH test.
Treatment includes anti-fungal creams, suppositories, and tablets available over the counter. It is important to note that all creams and suppositories are oil-based and may weaken latex condoms and diaphragms. Home remedies such as yogurt preparations have not been shown to be effective. Get professional medical treatment early and avoid self-diagnosis, because it may not be yeast but some other infection. Take all of the medication as indicated.
Avoid tight, poorly ventilated clothing and nylon underwear. Limit or discontinue use of commercial vaginal douches, perfumed or colored toilet paper, and feminine hygiene sprays.
For information on free and low cost STD testing and treatment services in Los Angeles County, call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880 or visit our STD Testing & Services section.