Yeast Infections; Facts to Know

Yeast Infections; Facts to Know

* During a lifetime, 75 percent of all women are likely to have at least one yeast infection, and up to 45 percent have two or more.

* Vaginal yeast infections are the second most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge in the U.S. (the first is bacterial vaginosis).

* Yeast infections are quite common during pregnancy, perhaps due to a chemical change in the vaginal environment–essentially there is more sugar in the vaginal secretions on which the yeast feed. For the same reason, yeast infections are also more common in women with diabetes.

* About five percent of women with vaginal yeast infections develop recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), which is defined as four or more symptomatic vaginal yeast infections in a one-year period. Most women with RVVC have no underlying medical illness that would predispose them to recurrent candida infections.

* A woman’s vagina normally produces a discharge that is usually described as clear or slightly cloudy, non-irritating and odor-free. During the normal menstrual cycle, the amount and consistency of discharge may vary.

* Douching disrupts the balance of normal bacteria in the vagina and can cause more frequent vaginal infections.

* Vaginal yeast infections can clear up without treatment. However, there is a small chance that if you don’t treat a yeast infection, you may develop a more severe pelvic infection.

* Treatment of sexual partners is usually not recommended. It is not clear if vaginal yeast infections are transmitted sexually. However, if a male sex partner does show symptoms of candida balanitis–redness, irritation and/or itching at the tip of the penis–he may need to be treated with an antifungal cream or ointment.

* Medications cure 80 percent to 90 percent of vaginal yeast infections within two weeks or less, often within a few days.

* Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your health care professional and never take them for a longer or shorter time than directed. In addition to destroying bacteria that cause illness, antibiotics kill off the “good” bacteria that normally live in the vagina. Stopping treatment early, even when symptoms have stopped, can cause infections to return sooner, not be treated completely and resist treatment with the same medication at a later time.

“Frequently asked questions about vaginal health.” National Vaginitis Association. 1998. Accessed Jan. 2002.

“Vaginitis due to vaginal infections.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institute of Health. 1998. Accessed March 2004. Accessed Jan. 2002.

“Vaginitis: commonly asked questions.” Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 1998. Accessed Jan. 2002.

“Frequently Asked Questions About Vaginal Yeast Infections” McNeil-PPC, Inc. 2001. Accessed Jan. 2002.

“Adverse Reactions: Fluconazole” RxList 2002. Accessed Jan. 2002.

Editorial Staff of the National Women’s Health Resource Center 2002/09/12 2005/03/17 Vaginal yeast infections, also called candida vaginal infections or candidiasis, are common fungal infections that occur when there is overgrowth of the fungus called candida. Bacterial vaginosis,candida,Candidiasis,Fluconazole,Lactobacillus,Vaginal discharge,Vulvovaginal candidiasis,Yeast infections

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