Good news! If you recognize your symptoms as those of a yeast infection, there are over-the-counter treatments available. Brands like Monistat sell anti-fungal creams and suppositories that can wipe a yeast infection out in one to three days. While there are home remedy ways to help prevent a yeast infection (things like eating yogurt, taking a probiotic and avoiding irritating scents in soaps), McHugh said that by the time you have a yeast infection, you need an actual medication.
Vaginal yeast infections, also called candida vaginal infections or candidiasis, are common and easily treated in most women. Candida is a fungus. It commonly exists in small amounts in the vagina, mouth and gastrointestinal tract. When the fungus overgrows in the vagina, a yeast infection develops. This causes uncomfortable symptoms such as vaginal itching, burning and discharge. Uncontrolled diabetes and the use of antibiotics, the contraceptive sponge, the diaphragm and spermicides are associated with more frequent yeast infections. Women who use hormonal birth control—birth control pills, the birth control patch or the vaginal ring—may also have more yeast infections.
In people with weakened immune systems, candidal infections can affect various internal organs and cause pain or dysfunction of the organ. People with suppressed immune systems due to AIDS, chemotherapy, steroids or other conditions may contract a yeast infection called esophagitis in their upper gastrointestinal (GI) systems. This infection is similar to thrush but extends down the mouth and esophagus to the stomach. Candida esophagitis can cause painful ulcers throughout the GI system, making it too painful to swallow even liquids. If the infection spreads into the intestines, food may be poorly absorbed. People with this condition are in danger of becoming dehydrated. There may be associated pain in the area of the sternum (breast bone), pain in the upper abdomen, and/or nausea and vomiting.

A 2005 publication noted that "a large pseudoscientific cult"[69] has developed around the topic of Candida, with claims up to one in three people are affected by yeast-related illness, particularly a condition called "Candidiasis hypersensitivity".[70] Some practitioners of alternative medicine have promoted these purported conditions and sold dietary supplements as supposed cures; a number of them have been prosecuted.[71][72] In 1990, alternative health vendor Nature's Way signed an FTC consent agreement not to misrepresent in advertising any self-diagnostic test concerning yeast conditions or to make any unsubstantiated representation concerning any food or supplement's ability to control yeast conditions, with a fine of $30,000 payable to the National Institutes of Health for research in genuine candidiasis.[72]
C. albicans was isolated from the vaginas of 19% of apparently healthy women, i.e., those who experienced few or no symptoms of infection. External use of detergents or douches or internal disturbances (hormonal or physiological) can perturb the normal vaginal flora, consisting of lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacilli, and result in an overgrowth of Candida cells, causing symptoms of infection, such as local inflammation.[42] Pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives have been reported as risk factors.[43] Diabetes mellitus and the use of antibiotics are also linked to increased rates of yeast infections.[43]

Systemic candidiasis occurs when Candida yeast enters the bloodstream and may spread (becoming disseminated candidiasis) to other organs, including the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, bones, muscles, joints, spleen, or eyes. Treatment typically consists of oral or intravenous antifungal medications.[59] In candidal infections of the blood, intravenous fluconazole or an echinocandin such as caspofungin may be used.[15] Amphotericin B is another option.[15]
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.
In people who have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, steroids, or diseases such as AIDS, candida infections can occur throughout the entire body and can be life-threatening. The blood, brain, eye, kidney, and heart are most frequently affected, but Candida also can grow in the lungs, liver, and spleen. Candida is a leading cause of esophagitis (inflammation in the swallowing tube) in people with AIDS.
About 5-8% of the reproductive age female population will have four or more episodes of symptomatic Candida infection per year; this condition is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC).[17][18] Because vaginal and gut colonization with Candida is commonly seen in people with no recurrent symptoms, recurrent symptomatic infections are not simply due to the presence of Candida organisms. There is some support for the theory that RVVC results from an especially intense inflammatory reaction to colonization. Candida antigens can be presented to antigen presenting cells, which may trigger cytokine production and activate lymphocytes and neutrophils that then cause inflammation and edema.[19][20]

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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.
When you do develop a yeast infection, it’s not comfortable, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD. However, yeast infections can be confused with other vaginal issues like STIs, a skin allergy to latex or feminine hygiene products, a lack of estrogen in the vagina, or tears in the vagina, says Sherry A. Ross, MD, a women's health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period. Still, there are a few distinct symptoms to have on your radar:
Side effects of OTC medications for yeast infections are generally minor and include burning, itching, irritation of the skin and headache. However, as with any medication, more serious side effects are possible, though rare, and may include hives, shortness of breath and facial swelling. Seek emergency treatment immediately if any of these symptoms occur.
Jump up ^ Mendling W, Brasch J (2012). "Guideline vulvovaginal candidosis (2010) of the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Working Group for Infections and Infectimmunology in Gynecology and Obstetrics, the German Society of Dermatology, the Board of German Dermatologists and the German Speaking Mycological Society". Mycoses. 55 Suppl 3: 1–13. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0507.2012.02185.x. PMID 22519657.

Is it legit? Yes, although this is a pretty outdated treatment. “Vaginal boric acid capsules have been used for decades in combatting chronic yeast infections,” Dr. Ross says, thanks to its antifungal properties. One review published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that boric acid supplements were safe and effective in curing anywhere from 40 to 100 percent of vaginal yeast infections, which is a pretty big range. “This is not usually a first line treatment of health care providers,” Dr. Wider stresses.


The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are itching and vaginal discharge. The discharge is often thick, white and, curd-like (almost like cottage cheese). The discharge will be odorless. Other signs are burning, redness, and irritation of the vaginal area. Severe yeast infections may cause swelling of the labia (lips) outside of the vagina. Sometimes, women have pain when they pee as the urine passes over the sore tissues.
Is it legit? Not completely. “Using [probiotics] to treat a yeast infection is not always effective,” Dr. Ross says. The lactobacillus acidophilus cultures in yogurt are thought to be an effective way of removing the excessive yeast built up in the vagina. “Medical studies have found using yogurt to treat yeast is more effective than a placebo,” she adds.
Candida organisms naturally live on the skin, but breakdown of the outer layers of skin promote the yeast's overgrowth. This typically occurs when the environment is warm and moist such as in diaper areas and skin folds. Superficial candida skin infections appear as a red flat rash with sharp scalloped edges. There are usually smaller patches of similar appearing rash nearby, known as "satellite lesions." These rashes may cause itching or pain.

There are plenty of reasons why having a vagina can be great. It can lead to some pretty pleasurable experiences (hey, hey, G-spot orgasms, if that’s a thing your body can do). And, obviously, it often comes with that whole miracle-of-life potential. But there are downsides, too. Enter the dreaded yeast infection: You’re going about your business and suddenly your underwear is covered in a sticky, white residue, or you’re having sex and realize it’s not so much hot as it is burning.
The colloquial term "thrush" refers to the resemblance of the white flecks present in some forms of candidiasis (e.g. pseudomembranous candidiasis) with the breast of the bird of the same name.[67] The term candidosis is largely used in British English, and candidiasis in American English.[65] Candida is also pronounced differently; in American English, the stress is on the "i", whereas in British English the stress is on the first syllable.
All of these types of medicine can clear up your symptoms in a couple of days and cure the infection within a week. It's important that you take the medicine for the whole time that your doctor prescribes. If you stop taking it too soon, the infection could come back. If you're not feeling better within a few days of finishing treatment, call your doctor.
When you do develop a yeast infection, it’s not comfortable, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD. However, yeast infections can be confused with other vaginal issues like STIs, a skin allergy to latex or feminine hygiene products, a lack of estrogen in the vagina, or tears in the vagina, says Sherry A. Ross, MD, a women's health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period. Still, there are a few distinct symptoms to have on your radar:
In adults, oral yeast infections become more common with increased age. Adults also can have yeast infections around dentures, in skin folds under the breast and lower abdomen, nailbeds, and beneath other skin folds. Most of these candida infections are superficial and clear up easily with treatment. Infections of the nailbeds often require prolonged therapy.
Symptoms in men may include itching, burning, and pain at the tip of the penis. Discomfort during urination can also occur. The area may appear reddened or irritated. Symptoms may resemble those of other diseases, including some sexually-transmitted infections (STDs), so testing should always be carried out to determine the cause of symptoms in men.
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