It is important to note that the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are like those of other STIs and genital infections. To be sure that you are experiencing a yeast infection, you should contact your doctor. Treatment for yeast infections are relatively straightforward, but by self-treating, you may inadvertently make the problem worse. A PlushCare doctor can help advise by phone or video chat which steps to take (yes, an online doctor can prescribe medication!).
The first time you experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should see your doctor to rule out any other conditions. Even if you’ve had a yeast infection before, you should consult your physician if the condition isn’t improving despite using medication, or if you experience four or more yeast infections per year. You might need something stronger than what’s available over-the-counter. Finally, if your discharge has a bad odor, if you have a fever, or if you have other serious medical problems, you should definitely seek medical attention.
A yeast infection is simply an overgrowth of candida, a fungus found naturally in your vagina, says Pari Ghodsi, M.D., an ob-gyn and women’s health expert practicing in LA. A fungus? In your lady bits? Yep, it’s all part of the delicate microbiome of organisms that keeps things running smoothly downstairs. When all is working properly, the bacteria in your vagina keep the fungus in check, but if something throws off the balance you can end up with an overgrowth of bacteria (bacterial vaginosis) or candida (a yeast infection), she explains.
If you suspect that you’re struggling with a vaginal yeast infection, you can use over-the-counter antifungal medication to try to clear it up, Dr. Wider says. But if that doesn’t do the trick or you think you’re struggling with recurrent yeast infections, talk to your ob/gyn. They can do a vaginal culture to confirm that you do, in fact, have a yeast infection and recommend next steps from there.
A systemic yeast infection refers to invasion into the bloodstream with subsequent spread throughout the body. This type of yeast infection is very rare in babies, typically occurring only in those who have existing health problems. Infants who are born prematurely or with a low birth weight, have a weakened immune system or who are already hospitalized for another reason are at increased risk. Other risk factors include bladder catheterization and long-term antibiotic or chemotherapy treatment. Signs and symptoms may include a low or high temperature, poor feeding, irregular breathing and low blood pressure. Although rare, systemic yeast infections are very serious. They are a major cause of death in settings such as the neonatal intensive care unit, according to a March 2011 article in "Early Human Development."
Some people find soaking in an apple cider vinegar bath offers relief, as the vinegar can help restore normal acidity to the vagina. Add two cups of vinegar to a shallow warm—not hot—bath, and soak for 15 minutes. Make sure you dry yourself thoroughly before getting dressed. Every body is different, but most women will see some improvement after two or three soaks.
Vaginal yeast infections are due to excessive growth of Candida.[1] These yeast are normally present in the vagina in small numbers.[1] It is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection; however, it may occur more often in those who are frequently sexually active.[1][2] Risk factors include taking antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.[2] Eating a diet high in simple sugar may also play a role.[1] Tight clothing, type of underwear, and personal hygiene do not appear to be factors.[2] Diagnosis is by testing a sample of vaginal discharge.[1] As symptoms are similar to that of the sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia and gonorrhea, testing may be recommended.[1]

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Wait, what? Yes, women can have an imbalance of yeast but not get any yeast infection symptoms. Your doctor may say something about the abundance of yeast after a routine exam or Pap smear, which can leave you confused and alarmed about what’s going on. But as long as you have no symptoms, you don’t need to be concerned or treat it, says Diana Atashroo, MD, a gynecologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem. There’s no reason to take medication your body doesn’t need. Find out the 13 things gynecologists wish their patients knew about yeast infections.
You’ve been potty trained since you were a toddler, but if you find yourself avoiding using the bathroom because it hurts to pee, you’ve likely got a much more adult problem. Pain during urination is one of the signs of not only yeast infections but also urinary tract infections and some sexually transmitted diseases. If this is your main symptom, get it checked by your doctor asap, she says.

Some women get yeast infections every month around the time of their menstrual periods. Your health care provider may tell you that you need to take medicine every month to prevent yeast infections. This is done to stop the symptoms from developing, or if you get a lot of infections you may be told that you need to take oral pills for up to 6 months. Never self-treat unless you’ve talked to your health care provider.

^ Jump up to: a b c d e f Martins N, Ferreira IC, Barros L, Silva S, Henriques M (June 2014). "Candidiasis: predisposing factors, prevention, diagnosis and alternative treatment". Mycopathologia. 177 (5–6): 223–240. doi:10.1007/s11046-014-9749-1. hdl:10198/10147. PMID 24789109. Candida species and other microorganisms are involved in this complicated fungal infection, but Candida albicans continues to be the most prevalent. In the past two decades, it has been observed an abnormal overgrowth in the gastrointestinal, urinary and respiratory tracts, not only in immunocompromised patients but also related to nosocomial infections and even in healthy individuals. There is a wide variety of causal factors that contribute to yeast infection which means that candidiasis is a good example of a multifactorial syndrome.

Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your health care professional and never for longer than directed. In addition to destroying bacteria that cause illness, antibiotics kill off the "good" bacteria that keep the yeast in the vagina at a normal level. If you tend to get yeast infections whenever you take an antibiotic, ask your doctor to prescribe a vaginal antifungal agent at the same time.
Vaginal infections can also be caused by bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common cause of vaginitis in women of childbearing age, and trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection. BV and trichomoniasis are associated with more serious reproductive health concerns, such as premature birth and increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Because these infections can have symptoms similar to those of yeast infections, yet can have more serious reproductive effects, it's important to see a health care professional to evaluate and diagnose any vaginal symptoms. A variety of medications can treat vaginal infections, but proper diagnosis is key.
The healthy vaginal ecosystem requires just the right balance of bacteria flora. The vaginal mucosa, which protects against pathogens, is made up predominantly of healthy bacteria called lactobacillus. These bacteria make hydrogen peroxide, which keeps unhealthy bacteria from getting out of hand. This, in turn, keeps the amount of yeast at a normal level. Too much douching can disrupt the bacterial balance and lead to infection.
Yeast infections occur without sexual activity and, therefore, are not considered sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, yeast can be transferred between sexual partners through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You can use a condom or dental dam to protect against this. If your sexual activity irritates the vagina, it can disrupt the normal balance and encourage an overgrowth of yeast.

In people with weakened immune systems, oral, vaginal, and skin candida infections usually can be diagnosed by visual infection. When a person becomes sick, the health care practitioner may perform more invasive tests to confirm the diagnosis. Specimen collection may be necessary to check for Candida in the blood and urinary tracts. People with catheters may have their catheters changed and the catheter tips sent for culture. If a CT scan or MRI indicates candidiasis of the brain, health care practitioners may take a biopsy to distinguish between Candida and other diseases. Usually health care practitioner give IV medications for serious systemic infections.

As with any food, however, it’s always important to monitor how you feel after consuming a meal when you have candida. Some people who suffer stomach distress after eating any kind of starch, for instance, should avoid starchy vegetables like corn, peas, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, zucchini and yams. Instead, they should eat non-starchy vegetables — typically the flowering parts of the plant — like lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
Oral thrush is another common type of yeast infection that occurs frequently in babies, especially during the first 6 to 12 months of life. This yeast infection appears as white or yellowish patches in a baby’s mouth. They may appear on the tongue, gums, roof of the mouth or the inside of the cheeks. Patches caused by a yeast infection in the mouth cannot be wiped away easily, unlike formula or breast milk that may coat the tongue. With thrush, bleeding may occur if the patches are wiped off. A baby may experience some discomfort or difficulty eating as a result of oral thrush, leading to poor feeding or fussiness during feeding. An antifungal solution may be prescribed to treat oral thrush.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect the First Year. Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as well as the What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff.

Vaginal yeast infections are due to excessive growth of Candida.[1] These yeast are normally present in the vagina in small numbers.[1] It is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection; however, it may occur more often in those who are frequently sexually active.[1][2] Risk factors include taking antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.[2] Eating a diet high in simple sugar may also play a role.[1] Tight clothing, type of underwear, and personal hygiene do not appear to be factors.[2] Diagnosis is by testing a sample of vaginal discharge.[1] As symptoms are similar to that of the sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia and gonorrhea, testing may be recommended.[1]
Oral thrush is another common type of yeast infection that occurs frequently in babies, especially during the first 6 to 12 months of life. This yeast infection appears as white or yellowish patches in a baby’s mouth. They may appear on the tongue, gums, roof of the mouth or the inside of the cheeks. Patches caused by a yeast infection in the mouth cannot be wiped away easily, unlike formula or breast milk that may coat the tongue. With thrush, bleeding may occur if the patches are wiped off. A baby may experience some discomfort or difficulty eating as a result of oral thrush, leading to poor feeding or fussiness during feeding. An antifungal solution may be prescribed to treat oral thrush.
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A yeast infection results from an overgrowth of yeast (a type of fungus) anywhere in the body. Candidiasis is by far the most common type of yeast infection. There are more than 20 species of Candida, the most common being Candida albicans. These fungi live on all surfaces of our bodies. Under certain conditions, they can become so numerous they cause infections, particularly in warm and moist areas. Examples of such infections are vaginal yeast infections, thrush (infection of tissues of the oral cavity), skin, including diaper rash, beneath large breasts, and nailbed infections.

Probiotics (either as pills or as yogurt) do not appear to decrease the rate of occurrence of vaginal yeast infections.[28] No benefit has been found for active infections.[6] Example probiotics purported to treat and prevent candida infections are Lactobacillus fermentum RC-14, Lactobacillus fermentum B-54, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Lactobacillus acidophilus.[29]

This is because vaginal infections caused by bacteria, as well as some sexually transmitted infections (STI), may have symptoms very similar to those caused by yeast, but they require different treatments. Since yeast infection treatments have become available over the counter (OTC), many women simply visit the closest drugstore and buy an antifungal cream.

You can treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter antifungal medications (creams, ointments, or suppositories for your vagina), or your doctor may opt to give you a prescription for a one-day oral antifungal like fluconazole. Changing up habits to ones that support vaginal health—like staying away from tight clothing, using an unscented body wash, changing pads and tampons often, and changing out of workout clothes after exercise—can help lessen the aggravation of symptoms or decrease the likelihood of recurrence, Dr. Atashroo says.
An infant can develop a vaginal yeast infection from an overgrowth of the fungi that thrive naturally in and on the body. Oral thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth, can lead to vaginal yeast infection when the fungi is passed through the feces and makes contact with the vagina. Caregivers should confer with a health care provider before attempting treatment of an infant yeast infection.

Topical antibiotic (antifungal) treatments (applied directly to the affected area) are available without a prescription. These include vaginal creams, tablets, or suppositories. Regimens vary according to the length of treatment and are typically 1- or 3-day regimens. Recurrent infections may require even longer courses of topical treatment. These topical treatments relieve symptoms and eradicate evidence of the infection in up to 90% of those who complete treatment.

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