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Yeast Infection

What is a vaginal yeast infection?
Yeast vaginitis is an infection of the vagina which may spread to the surrounding skin. The infection is due to a yeast called Candida. This yeast was once called Monilia, a fungus similar to baker's and brewer's yeast.

Why did I get a yeast infection?
Candida (yeast) lives in warm, moist parts of almost everyone's body.  Usually it causes no problems at all. Infection occurs when the environment in which the yeast lives changes.  In the vagina, the  changes may occur when a person takes antibiotics for any reason,  killing the normal bacteria in the vagina.  Antibiotics do not kill yeasts, which may overgrow because they are no longer competing with
the bacteria.  People with diabetes may develop yeast infection of the vagina, moist areas of the skin, or the mouth because of increased levels of sugar in their secretions. People being treated with steroids or who have decreased immunity from other causes may also get yeast infections. Pregnancy and birth control pills may cause normal changes in the vagina leading to infection. Poor hygiene and tight or damp clothing may also cause changes leading to yeast infection. Sexual activity may transfer yeasts and lead to infection if conditions are right. Oral sex is a very common precipitating factor.  Drinking or eating too much sugar can favor the growth of yeast.  The yeasts are present in healthy people and do not cause infection unless conditions favor their growth.

What are the symptoms of yeast infections?
* Severe itching, sometimes to the extent of pain and burning
* Curdy or creamy white vaginal discharge
* Pain with sexual intercourse
* The skin around the vagina and vulva can be red, raised and itchy.
* Pain with urination

What complications can result from yeast infections?
Women with yeast infections can have a local allergic reaction
leading to more inflammation.  Bacterial infections can occur in
damaged tissue.  Newborns may be infected during birth.

Does past infection with yeast make a person immune?
No. A person can get a yeast infection more than once.

How is a yeast infection treated?
* Over the counter creams and suppositories (85% effective)
* Prescription creams or suppositories
* Oral medication
* Avoidance of tight clothes, moist conditions, and sugar.

Source: University of South Carolina Student Health Services