What Causes Yeast Infections (Vaginitis)?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

How do we get yeast vaginitis?  Is it infectious?

Doctor's answer

Yeast infections are a common and frustrating problem for many women.  Yeast infections are not infectious, meaning they are not "sexually transmitted".  Yeast infections are not really "infections" per se.  In actuality, yeast organisms exist naturally in all women.  They love moisture and love the vaginal canal.  We currently believe they may serve a biological function, keeping the "bad bugs" from causing more serious infections in the vaginal canal.  That is probably why they often come back after treatment. 

Yeast vaginitis is not a serious condition.  It does not have to be treated unless a woman has symptoms that bother her.

Thank you for your question.

Author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018