Three out of four women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetimes. If you’ve had one, you know the signs: severe vaginal itching and irritation accompanied by a thick, white discharge. Sometimes you might feel a burning sensation during urination or sex. Yeast infections certainly aren’t pleasant, but under most circumstances, they’re easy to treat.
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 healthy women.
A vaginal yeast infection, which is also sometimes called vulvovaginal candidiasis, happens when the healthy yeast that normally lives in your vagina grows out of control. It often leads to itching and other irritating symptoms. The medical name for a yeast infection is "candidiasis," because they’re usually caused by a type of yeast called candida.
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