Vaginal yeast infection (also called yeast vaginitis or vaginal candidiasis) is a common infection that causes itching and irritation of the vulva, the outer lips of the vagina. This type of infection is usually caused by a fungus called “candida”. Vaginal yeast infections usually occur as infrequent episodes, but can recur frequently and may cause chronic persistent symptoms. The fungus that causes yeast infections (named Candida) lives in the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes the vagina. Normally, Candida causes no symptoms. However, when there are changes in the environment of the gastrointestinal tract and vagina (which can be caused by medicines, injury, or stress to the immune system), Candida can overgrow and cause the symptoms described above.

In some cases, vaginal yeast infections may occur more frequently and cause chronic symptoms. The most common symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Itching or irritation of the vulva and around the vaginal opening
  • Pain with urination
  • Vulvar soreness or irritation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Red and swollen vulvar and vaginal tissues.
  • Some women have no abnormal vaginal discharge. Others have white clumpy (curd-like) or watery vaginal discharge.

Also known as yeast vaginitis or vaginal candidiasis, the infection is caused by a fungus called “candida.” Normally, candida lives in the gastrointestinal tract and doesn’t cause any issues. But, when there is an overgrowth of candida, it can cause a vaginal yeast infection. The changes in candida growth can be caused by:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Impaired immune system

Symptoms of a yeast infection are similar to a number of other conditions, including bacterial vaginosis (a bacterial infection of the vagina), trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection), and dermatitis (irritated skin). So, it’s important to speak with a doctor who can diagnose a vaginal yeast infection and provide you with the treatment you need. Antifungal medications are usually the first line of defense against a yeast infection. A prescription from a doctor can help clear up a yeast infection so that you can feel better fast.