Yeast infections: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Vaginal yeast infection is a common fungal infection of the genitals. It causes inflammation, irritation, itching, and vaginal discharge. It most commonly affects women, but men can get it too.

Vaginal yeast infections, also called vaginal Candidiasis or vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC), are experienced by as many as 3 out of 4 women during their lifetime. Most women experience at least two infections.

This article will look at the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of yeast infections, as well as medication and home remedies.


woman with gynecology problem
Frequent symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include itching, burning, and vaginal discharge.

Symptoms of a vulvovaginal yeast infection include:

Itching, burning, or irritation of the vagina or vulva, which is the tissue surrounding the vagina

Pain or soreness in the vagina or the vaginal opening

Vaginal burning with intercourse or urination

A thick, white, odorless discharge that resembles cottage cheese, or a watery discharge


Sometimes a more complicated yeast infection may occur, with more severe symptoms. Four or more infections may arise in one year.

There may be severe redness, swelling, and itching, leading to skin fissures or sores.

Medical conditions that can cause a complicated yeast infection include pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, having a weakened immune system, and the presence of an alternate Candida fungus, as opposed to Candida albicans.

In men, it affects the head of the penis. Symptoms include redness, irritation, and discharge. It can also affect the skin or the mouth.

[consulting a gynecologist]
A doctor can help to find a suitable treatment.

Maintenance medications may be recommended. These drugs are taken regularly to prevent the infection returning.

Long-course vaginal therapy includes treatment with a vaginal cream, ointment, tablet, or suppository for approximately 7 to 14 days.

Sometimes, two to three doses of oral fluconazole may be recommended instead of direct vaginal therapy.

If symptoms are severe, a doctor may prescribe a few days of topical steroids to help ease symptoms while the antifungal medication works.

Before using antifungals, it is important to be sure that the symptoms are due to a yeast infection. The overuse of antifungals can increase the chances of yeast resistance, so that the medications may not work in the future when they are needed.

If maintenance medications are necessary, these begin after one of the above methods of treatment has finished. It may include weekly treatment with oral fluconazole for 6 months or weekly treatment with vaginal clotrimazole.

If the patient’s sexual partner has yeast symptoms, they might want to consider treatment, too. The use of condoms is often recommended.

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