What is a yeast infection?
A yeast infection is a vaginal infection usually caused by a fungal organism called Candida albicans.
What causes a yeast infection?
A small amount of Candida albicans are normally found in the vagina, the digestive tract and on the skin. An infection can occur if the normal balance of these microorganisms is disturbed, and the amount of Candida albicans grows in proportion to the other microorganisms that are present in the vagina. Women on certain types of birth control pills, women who are pregnant, diabetics, and people whose immune systems are compromised are more likely to develop a yeast infection. It can also occur following a course of antibiotics used to treat some other condition, as this can change the balance of organisms in the vagina.
What are the symptoms?
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Itching or burning in the vagina
- Redness of the vulvar skin
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Painful urination
How is it treated?
Your doctor may prescribe an oral or topical antifungal medication for the first instance of yeast infection. If another infection occurs, some over-the-counter medication can be used to self-treat the condition.