Yeast infection

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Vaginal yeast infection

A vaginal yeast infection is a common infection that is caused by a fungus called Candida. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast that is found in small amounts in a woman’s vagina. A yeast infection is the result of an increase in the quantity of Candida.

For recurring yeast infections, you should see your healthcare professional. You may need a longer treatment course and a maintenance plan.

Contributing factors

The following factors may contribute to vaginal yeast infections:

  • Pregnancy
  • High-dose estrogen birth control pills
  • Recent or current use of antibiotics
  • Poorly controlled blood sugar in diabetes
  • Weak immune system
  • Vaginal douching

Symptoms

If you have a yeast infection, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal itching
  • Burning during sex or while urinating
  • Vaginal pain
  • Swollen or red vulva
  • Thick, white, odour-free vaginal discharge resembling cottage cheese
  • Watery vaginal discharge

Treatment

Most yeast infections are successfully treated with over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications (e.g. miconazole, fluconazole).

These OTC medications are available in the following forms:

  • Ovules or suppositories inserted into the vagina
  • Ointments and creams
  • Oral capsules

Prevention

Although you may never determine the exact cause of your yeast infection, there are some things you can do that may minimize your chance of getting one:

  • Wear cotton underwear (as opposed to synthetic)
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Quickly change out of wet clothes or bathing suits
  • Avoid vaginal douches and deodorants
  • Avoid hot tubs and very hot baths
  • Avoid scented hygiene products, including bubble bath, pads, and tampons

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