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Vaginal Yeast Infection Treatment

Vaginal Yeast Infection Overview

Yeast infections are overgrowths of normally growing fungi in the vagina. Overgrowth inflames the vagina and creates discharge, odor, irritation, and/or itching. Normally growing bacteria in the body typically keep yeast fungi in check. If the natural balance of microorganisms is upset, the yeast may grow out of control. This is so common that most women experience a yeast infection at some time in their lives. Disruption of this natural balance may occur with any of the following:

  • Use of antibiotics
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system (for example from HIV/AIDS, steroid use, pregnancy, cancer chemotherapy or other drugs that weaken the immune system)
  • Use of douches or feminine hygiene sprays
  • Tight or noncotton underwear
  • Hormonal changes
  • Ovulation
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Use of hormone therapy

Vaginal Yeast Infection Causes

Vaginal yeast infections are caused by a fungus. The most common fungus women acquire is called Candida albicans. This condition is also called candidiasis, genital candidiasis, or vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). In stubborn cases, there may be a resistant yeast organism or a mixed infection with Candida as one of the organisms. Yeast infection can spread to other parts of the body, including skin, mucous membranes, heart valves, the esophagus, and other areas. Rarely, yeast infection can cause life-threatening systemic infections, typically in people with weakened immune defenses. For more, please read the Vaginal Yeast Infection article.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

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Vaginitis (infection of the vagina) is the most common gynecologic condition encountered in the office.

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