A vaginal yeast infection is an irritation of the vagina and the vulva. Yeast is a type of fungus. Yeast infections are caused by overgrowth of a fungus. Small amounts of yeast are always in the vagina, but when too much yeast grows, you can get a yeast infection. Yeast infections are very common and are easily treatable. Approximately 75 percent of women have a yeast infection during the course of their lives.
The most common symptom of a yeast infection is extreme itchiness in and around the vagina. Other symptoms include burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and the vulva. Pain during urination and sex can also indicate a vaginal yeast infection. If there is a change in one's vaginal discharge where it appears like cottage cheese or a rash on the vagina this may be due to a yeast infection.
If you think you may have a yeast infection you should call your doctor. The symptoms of a yeast infection are very similar to those of STIs so it is important to rule those out and seek treatment. If you've had vaginal yeast infections before, talk to your doctor about using over-the-counter medicines.
Certain factors increase your likelihood of getting a vaginal yeast infection including stress, lack of sleep, illness, pregnancy, certain medications and hormonal changes. One can get a yeast infection from unprotected sex, but it is rare. The most common cause is a compromised or weak immune system.
Yeast infections can be cured with antifungal medications that come in a variety of forms including creams, ointments or tablets. These products can be bought over the counter. If the yeast infection persists your doctor may prescribe you a dose of fluconazole. In order to prevent future yeast infections one should avoid douches, scented hygiene products, avoid tight or synthetic underwear, avoid bathing in very hot water and change tampons frequently during your period. If you think you may have a yeast infection contact your doctor who can help you plan out the best treatment.