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Yeast Infection


What is a yeast infection?

A yeast infection, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, is a common vaginal infection. Vulvovaginal candidiasis 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
  • Burning when you urinate

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.

Keep your vagina healthy:

  • Do not have sex until your symptoms go away. Have your partner wear a condom until you complete your course of medication.
  • Always wipe from front to back after you use the toilet. This prevents spreading bacteria from your rectal area into your vagina.
  • Clean around your vulva with mild soap and warm water each day. 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.
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes or undergarments for long periods. 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.
  • Change your laundry soap or fabric softener if you think it is irritating your skin.
  • 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.
  • 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 contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2020 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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