Learn what you need to know about treating these common infections.
  • Vaginal infection
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infection
  • Viral infections
  • Staph infections
 

 
 

 

Yeast Infection Overview

Yeast infection is a common vaginal infection that can result in discharge, itching, and pain. It is also referred to as vaginal candidiasis because of the fungal organism that typically causes the infection  Candida albicans. Many microorganisms live harmlessly throughout the body, including Candida albicans, which are normally found in the vagina and other areas of the body such as the mouth, digestive tract, and on the skin. Though Candida albicans normally do not cause infection or symptoms, if the population of the fungus overcomes the other microorganism populations in the vagina, it can result in a yeast infection.

Episodes of yeast infections should be monitored carefully. Repeat infections that occur immediately following therapy, or a persistent yeast infection that does not respond to therapy, may be a sign of an immune disorder such as HIV, so it's important to talk to your health care provider about your symptoms.

Anyone, including men, can develop a yeast infection, but typically women will experience this common infection at least once their lifetime.

Approximately 75 percent of all women will have at least one yeast infection with symptoms during their lifetimes.

Factors that increase the risk of developing a yeast infection include:

  • Pregnancy or oral contraceptive use. The increased level of estrogen in the body that each cause may change the vaginal environment, making it perfect for fungal growth and nourishment.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes. Hyperglycemia from diabetes may promote yeast adhesion and diminish the body's ability to defend against infectious microorganisms.
  • Antibiotics. The antibiotics may suppress the growth of protective bacteria in the vagina that normally have an antifungal effect.
  • HIV. The destruction of the immune system makes in hard for the body to fight infection.
Yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted disease. However, 12% to 15% of men can develop symptoms such as itching and penile rash following sexual contact with partner who has a yeast infection.