Ask a Doctor: What Causes Yeast Infections?

A diaper rash caused by a yeast infection is usually diagnosed by physical examination. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms. Some women prefer popping a pill to dealing with messy creams.

While the pill is less messy, the creams start relieving symptoms faster.

Or your doctor may prescribe a medicine to treat the infection. But when these fungi overproduce, they can cause infection. Antifungal pills that are taken by mouth affect your entire body. A yeast infection is a treatable medical condition caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the body. Who to see, latex products should not be used within 72 hours of an incompatible antifungal. This ensures that your symptoms are definitely related to Candida overgrowth and not another more serious condition. Intravaginal garlic cloves and tea tree oil have no role in yeast prevention or treatment either. Most women––as many as 75 percent––will have at least one diagnosis of vaginal yeast infection during their lifetimes. Sadly for those who swear by it, topical plain yogurt on the external vulva or even in the vagina might be soothing but is not an effective treatment for yeast.

  • And have her avoid clothing that’s too tight or made of materials like nylon that can trap heat and moisture (such as tight jeans, nylon underwear, and pantyhose).
  • A sex partner of someone diagnosed with a yeast infection does not need to be treated, unless they are experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection themself (6).
  • Wearing a wet swimsuit for many hours may keep your genital area warm and moist.
  • It’s important to know that the creams may weaken latex condoms, causing them to break.

Signs And Symptoms

An infection that is spread by sexual contact, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]). But when these microscopic, single-celled organisms run rampant, they can trigger an infection—and some very unpleasant symptoms. You may be noticing an increase in the amount of thin, white, odd smelling discharge. Constricting, non-breathable clothing might also play a role. As women age, lack of estrogen causes the skin to thin, and this sometimes leads to discomfort, itching or discharge.

Risk factors for developing vaginal yeast infections include: Sometimes women think they have a vaginal yeast infection when symptoms are caused by a different condition, such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). How do physicians diagnose thrush? If you don’t have a plant at home, you can buy Aloe Vera water online. Complicated[edit], why are yeast infections more common during pregnancy? Sugar cravings:  Your white blood cells, which normally keep the yeast usually found in your vagina and digestive tract from overgrowing, can be reduced by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. When should I contact my doctor? He or she may do some tests to see if your yeast infections are being caused by another health problem, such as diabetes. But taking a pill is convenient and is not messy.

This means condoms and diaphragms may break, and you may not be protected from STI or pregnancy. Join our weekly wellness digest, treatment is difficult and aimed at palliation rather than cure. You may prefer to take pills rather than use medicine that is inserted into the vagina. 8% Candida albicans and Candida glabrata: Some people say this discharge looks like cottage cheese.

Key Points About Yeast Infection

Wear cotton underwear. There is some evidence that it might be possible to contract a yeast infection from a sexual partner, but it is uncommon.  Yeast cells that normally live in the vagina are kept in careful check by the minimally available nutrients in the acidic environment of the vagina. Even if you think your vaginal infection is due to an overgrowth of yeast, it’s smart to speak with your doctor first. Small amounts of yeast can be found in the normal vagina. Because these infections can have symptoms similar to those of yeast infections, yet can have more serious reproductive effects, it's important to see a health care professional to evaluate and diagnose any vaginal symptoms. Yeast can thrive in moist, dark environments, so clothing (especially underwear) that is too tight or made of materials like nylon that trap heat and moisture might lead to yeast infections. Sore nipples unrelated to breastfeeding, shiny, itchy, flaked or cracked nipples, blistered nipples, achy breasts and shooting breast pain during or after your feedings.

Some things that can cause changes in your vagina’s environment are: If it has a cottage cheese-like consistency, it’s likely to be yeast. Include yogurt with “lactobacillus acidophilus” in your diet.

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina. If your symptoms continue, you can use nonprescription medicine. Ask your pharmacist to guide you through the array of antifungal creams, ointments, and suppositories from which to choose. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption—which it does when it’s in balance with the good bacteria in your microbiome. Don't douche or use deodorant tampons or feminine sprays, powders, or perfumes. The medical name for a yeast infection is "candidiasis," because they’re usually caused by a type of yeast called candida. Vaginal yeast infection:

What are the symptoms of a fungal infection?


Vaginal intercourse, as well as penetration via sex toys and fingers, can all introduce bacteria. Various over the counter (OTC) creams or suppositories are effective, short term (1–7 day courses), safe, and well-tolerated. “In my experience, it can take a good 24 hours, sometimes longer, to actually feel better, and that can be a very long, itchy 24 hours, whereas a cream can have more quick relief,” she says. An oral medication may be needed if your baby has oral thrush (yeast infection of the mouth). Are having a recurrent infection. Other vaginal infections (such as bacterial vaginosis) and some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may have similar symptoms, but require different treatment. After swimming or exercising, she should quickly change out of the wet or damp gear and into dry, looser fitting clothing.

Maintenance medications may be recommended. An example is estrogen, which controls the function of female reproductive organs. MMWR, 64(RR-03): The infections may occur under the nails (subungual) possibly causing loss of fingernails or toenails. There are a number of things you can to do help prevent yeast infections. While it's not a life-threatening problem, it's certainly an uncomfortable one. Diets high in sugar or alcohol might increase risk.

Invasive Infections

Fungi are all around us. It is a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of vegetables, whole grains and few processed carbohydrates. Antibiotics kill bacteria that keep the vagina healthy and prevent an overgrowth of yeast. A The best way to treat Candida is with a three-step approach: That test can tell your doctor whether there is an overgrowth of yeast.

It can take 1-2 days before someone feels relief from their symptoms. If walking in a locker room, pool, or a communal shower, wear flip flops or sandals to keep your skin from touching the floor. It could be BV or trichomonas, a common sexually transmitted disease. If you experience four or more yeast infections per year, ask your healthcare provider to make sure that your diabetes is being adequately managed. When too much yeast grows on your skin or other areas, it can cause an infection. Although not specific to yeast, I see this pattern frequently in patients with Candida overgrowth.

Yeast Infection (vaginal)

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. The lesions appear as well-circumscribed, red, sometimes itchy patches of varying sizes and shapes. OVERPOWER THE YEAST Some patients need a prescription anti-fungal (like Diflucan or Nystatin). Most yeast infections involve Candida albicans ( C. )A low white blood cell count (WBC) has been associated with yeast overgrowth, as well as a high neutrophil and low lymphocyte count. During pregnancy, vaginal yeasts increase because of decreased vaginal acidity and a higher output of female hormones (which raise glycogen [carbohydrate] levels) favoring candidal growth. Lopez JEM (2020).

After Yeast Infection Treatment

Penile candidiasis most often affects men with diabetes, uncircumcised men, or men whose female sex partners have vaginal candidiasis. But yours may be slightly different. Men are more likely to develop a yeast infection if they are uncircumcised. What causes yeast infections? In a study of the makeup of healthy people’s gastrointestinal tracts, their mycobiomes contained a total of 184 fungal species, which were mostly candida species (Mukherjee et al. Don’t wait to seek treatment! Over-the-counter treatments make it possible to initiate treatment without seeing a doctor. For example, bacterial vaginosis may have similar symptoms, but it's a condition that must be treated with prescription medicine. An overgrowth of candida or penetration of the fungus into deeper vaginal cell layers causes the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection.

How do I treat yeast infections? You may feel more comfortable if you wear breathable cotton underwear and clothes and avoid vaginal sprays and douches. Even untreated, it often goes away by itself, but it can sometimes spread to the scrotum, inner thighs and buttocks. For infrequent recurrences, the simplest and most cost-effective management is self-diagnosis and early initiation of topical therapy.

  • Those in women with diabetes can indicate that blood glucose levels are not well-controlled or that an infection is brewing in another part of the body.
  • If you are experiencing chronic or recurring yeast infections, your doctor may diagnose and prescribe treatment for non-Candida albicans yeast infections.
  • Your self-treatment is not working after one complete course of therapy.
  • Do not rub to try to relieve itching.

How Is A Yeast Infection Diagnosed?

The itching generally associated with hemorrhoids can also cause itching or irritation in the vaginal area. Dentures should always be removed and properly disinfected overnight. Overgrowth of yeast also can occur if the body’s immune system, which protects the body from disease, is not working well. If you stop taking it too soon, the infection could come back. Students rotate through the various clinical settings on the campus, and primary care centers and specialty care centers located throughout Jacksonville. Yeast infection of the vagina or penis. Vaginal yeast infections can also occur as a result of injury to the inner vagina, such as after chemotherapy. Additionally, if you have diabetes, it's important to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent yeast infections.


Most yeast infections will respond to one-, three-, or seven-day treatment regimens. Complicated infections, some women have discharge like that normally (sans itch) and think it’s a yeast infection, so they run to the drugstore. Thanks for signing up for our newsletter! you should see it in your inbox very soon. There’s evidence to suggest that a yeast infection may be able to spread between sexual partners, but it’s rare. Who is at risk for yeast infection? An uncomplicated yeast infection can be treated with any one of the many available antifungal medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), which all have about the same success rate of 80-90%1. When a fungus is inhaled and enters your body or is introduced into your body in another way, the risk of infection rises, especially if you have an impaired immune system.

A doctor's evaluation and treatment are necessary. These medicines upset the normal balance between yeast and bacteria in the vagina. CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES: Vaginal infections can also be caused by bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common cause of vaginitis in women of childbearing age, and trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection. Monistat (miconazole nitrate) and Gyne-Lotrimin (clotrimazole), available on drugstore shelves.

You are more likely to use a treatment correctly and complete the treatment if you get to choose the type you prefer. A It largely depends on what caused the Candida overgrowth. Some women get yeast infections every month around the time of their menstrual periods. The infection may spread to the face, fingertips or the trunk. Other infections can cause similar symptoms but require different treatments. Consuming yogurt also lacks enough research to say whether it is helpful in fighting yeast, but it’s unlikely to be harmful (9,11).


These include a boric acid vaginal suppository, available to purchase online, and the oral or vaginal application of yogurt. What to think about Antifungal creams and suppositories that you put into your vagina have fewer side effects than antifungal pills you take by mouth. If you are pregnant, don't use medicine for a yeast infection without talking to your doctor first. Should I Treat It Myself? Wear loose, breathable cotton clothing and cotton underwear. The lesions are usually rimmed with small, red-based pustules and they commonly appear in folds of the skin; i. Never self-treat unless you’ve talked to your health care provider. 4 The number of vaginal candidiasis cases in the United States is unknown.

If your vaginal chemistry gets thrown off balance, the normal yeast that live in your vagina can grow too much and lead to an infection. In some cases, yeast infections can be prevented by using unscented soap and avoiding vaginal sprays or douches. Many women with this infection do not notice a discharge, but if present, it is usually described as an odorless, white and "cheesy" discharge. How is it spread? The risk of infection is greater among men with diabetes. Yeast infections are more common in women with higher estrogen levels — such as pregnant women or women taking high-dose estrogen birth control pills or estrogen hormone therapy. When to seek medical care for a yeast infection skin rash. However, no large controlled trials involving yogurt or other probiotics have been conducted. Yeast infections are caused from an overgrowth of the Candida fungus.

Is there anything else I can do to prevent yeast infections?

If you see no improvement within three days, or if symptoms worsen or come back after treatment, you should contact your healthcare provider again. Don't try to self-diagnose your first yeast infection, health experts say. What’s the best treatment for a yeast infection? But taking a pill is convenient and is not messy. Candida esophagitis is thrush that spreads to your esophagus, the tube that takes food from your mouth to your stomach.

Your doctor will first conduct a pelvic exam, making note of any visible discharge, redness, and swelling. Thank you for signing up, one good choice is cotton underwear. Medicine choices Vaginal antifungal medicines, such as miconazole (Monistat) and tioconazole (Vagistat), are available in 1-day, 3-day, and longer courses, depending on the strength of the medicine. Talk with your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of vaginal and oral medicines, including: These are available over-the-counter or with a prescription. The discharge will be odorless. How is it treated?

This may point to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Women who use hormonal birth control—birth control pills, the birth control patch or the vaginal ring—may also have more yeast infections. These infections are easily treatable. Any person who has their immune system altered by disease (for example, HIV infection) or other reasons (for example, chemotherapy) is at higher risk to get a yeast infection.