Yeast Infection

A yeast infection, or vaginal candidiasis, is a common vaginal infection. A yeast infection is caused by a fungus, or yeast-like germ. Fungi are normally found in your vagina. Too many fungi can cause an infection.

What increases my risk for a yeast infection?

  • Pregnancy
  • Medicines, such as antibiotics, birth control pills, or steroid medicine
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Contraceptive devices, such as diaphragms, sponges, and intrauterine devices

What are the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection?

  • Thick, white, cheese-like discharge from your vagina
  • Itching, swelling, and redness in your vagina
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

How is a yeast infection diagnosed and treated?

  • Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and examine you. A sample of your vaginal discharge may show what germ is causing your infection.
  • Medicines help treat the fungal infection and decrease inflammation. The medicine may be a pill, cream, ointment, or vaginal tablet or suppository. With treatment, the infection is usually gone within a week.

What can I do to keep my vagina healthy?

  • Clean your genital area with mild soap and warm water each day. Do not get soap inside your vagina. Gently dry the area after washing. Do not use hot tubs. The heat and moisture from hot tubs can increase your risk for another yeast infection.

  • Always wipe from front to back after you use the toilet. This prevents spreading bacteria from your rectal area into your vagina.
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes or undergarments for long periods of time. Wear cotton underwear during the day. Cotton helps keep your genital area dry and does not hold in warmth or moisture. Do not wear underwear at night.
  • Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays or bubble bath. Do not use pads or tampons that are scented, or colored or perfumed toilet paper.
  • Do not have sex until your symptoms go away. Have your partner wear a condom until you complete your course of medication.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about birth control options if necessary. Condoms have latex and diaphragms have gel that kills sperm. Both of these may irritate your genital area.

When should I call my doctor or gynecologist?

  • You have a fever and chills.
  • You develop abdominal or pelvic pain.
  • Your discharge is bloody and it is not your monthly period.
  • Your signs and symptoms get worse, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.