Symptoms and Signs of Vaginal Yeast Infection

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 9/29/2022

Doctor's Notes on Vaginal Yeast Infection

A vaginal yeast infection is most commonly caused by Candida yeast. The condition can be referred to as vaginal candidiasis or yeast vaginitis. Inflammation or irritation of the tissues of the vagina causes the characteristic symptoms of a yeast infection. Although yeast is normally present in the healthy vagina, disturbances in the normal mix of bacteria in the vagina due to illness, hormonal changes, or taking antibiotics can create an environment in which a yeast infection can develop.

Symptoms and signs of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • itching, which can be severe, 
  • burning, and 
  • irritation.

A white-gray, thick vaginal discharge is often present that has been described as having the consistency of cottage cheese. Other associated symptoms can include pain or burning with sexual intercourse and redness and swelling of the vulva.

What Is the Treatment for Vaginal Yeast Infection?

Treatment for vaginal yeast infection consists of antifungal medications. These are available both over the counter and in prescription form. 

Antifungal medications can be creams or ointments that are applied topically, vaginal suppositories, or tablets to be taken orally. A single dose of fluconazole taken by mouth can also be an effective treatment.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.