Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by the organism Candida albicans.
Yeast infections are very common and affect up to 75% of women at some point in their lifetime.
The main symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is itching, but burning, discharge, and pain with urination or intercourse can also occur.
Treatment involves topical or oral antifungal medications.
It is possible for a woman to transmit a yeast infection to a male sex partner, even though yeast infection is not considered to be a true sexually-transmitted disease
(STD) because it can occur in women who are not sexually active.
Treatment of yeast infection in men, like in women, involves antifungal medications.
Keeping the vaginal area dry and avoiding irritating chemicals can help prevent yeast infections in women. Consuming foods with
What is a vaginal yeast infection?
A vaginal yeast infection is an infection caused by yeast (a type of
fungus). Vaginal yeast infection is sometimes referred to as
Candidal vaginitis, or Candidal vulvovaginitis. The scientific name for the
yeast that causes vaginitis is Candida. Over 90% of vaginal yeast infections are
caused by the species known as Candida albicans. Other Candida species make up
the remainder of yeast infections.
Candida species can be present in healthy women in the vagina without causing
any symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that 20% to 50% of women have Candida already
present in the vagina. For an infection to occur, the normal balance of yeast
and bacteria is disturbed, allowing overgrowth of the yeast. While yeast can be
spread by sexual contact, vaginal yeast infection is not considered to be a
sexually-transmitted disease because it can also occur in women who are not
sexually active, due to the fact that yeast can be present in the vagina of
Vaginal yeast infections are very common, affecting up to 75% of women at
some point in life.
Vaginal yeast infections occur when new yeast is introduced into the vaginal area, or when there is an increase in the quantity of yeast already present in the vagina relative to the quantity of normal bacteria. For example, when the normal, protective bacteria are eradicated by antibiotics (taken to treat a urinary tract, respiratory, or other types of infection) or by immunosuppressive drugs, the yeast can multiply, invade tissues, and cause irritation of the lining of the vagina (vaginitis).
Vaginal yeast infections can also occur as a result of injury to the inner vagina, such as after chemotherapy. Also, women with suppressed immune systems (for example, those taking cortisone-related medications such as prednisone) develop vaginal yeast infections more frequently than women with normal immunity. Other conditions that may predispose women to developing vaginal yeast infections include diabetes, pregnancy, and taking oral contraceptives. The use of
douches or perfumed vaginal hygiene sprays may also increase a woman's risk of developing a vaginal yeast infection.
A vaginal yeast infection is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD), since Candida may be present in the normal vagina, and the condition does occur in celibate women. However, it is possible for men to develop symptoms of skin irritation of the penis from a yeast infection after sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
What are vulvitis and vaginal yeast infection symptoms and signs?
Symptoms of yeast infection are similar to those of other causes of vaginitis (inflammation or irritation of the vaginal canal), including Trichomonas infection and bacterial vaginosis.
Vaginal itching (that can be severe)
Vaginal burning, pain, and irritation
Pain during sexual intercourse
With a yeast infection, the discharge is most often described as whitish-gray, thick, and having a consistency similar to cottage cheese. There may be redness, swelling, irritation, and itching of the vulva in addition to the vaginal symptoms.