Nowadays, we feel comfortable talking in public about everything
from HIV and AIDS to war and political scandals. But when was the last time
you heard someone talking about yeast infections?! Vaginal yeast infections
may be infrequently discussed,
but they are very common.
They will affect three out of four women in their lifetime, and many more than
A yeast infection is otherwise known as Candida or vulvovaginal candidiasis.
It is not a sexually transmitted infection, although it may be passed from partner
to partner. Most often, yeast infections are simply caused by an overgrowth
of the normal yeast Candida albicans that lives in the healthy vagina.
Factors that can cause yeast infections include hormonal changes, certain medications
(especially antibiotics), other illnesses (such as diabetes), or certain hygiene
habits. The symptoms are classic: they include vaginal itching, soreness,
burning or irritation along with a thick, lumpy white discharge often described
as "cottage cheesy."
Many women are nervous the first time they have a yeast infection. If you think
you have one, you should consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you
have had the symptoms once before and have them again, you are probably pretty
confident with the diagnosis and can safely treat yourself with one of the many
over-the-counter medications available. If the symptoms are different, if the
discharge is discolored or smells foul, or if the over-the-counter treatment
does not work as directed, consult your physician to confirm that it is a yeast
infection and not another problem.
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Created: 4/13/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.