A vaginal yeast, also called Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), infection is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva — the tissues at the vaginal opening. Vaginal yeast infection affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetimes with many women experiencing multiple recurrent episodes.
Yeast infections are the second most common cause of vaginitis symptoms (after bacterial vaginosis) and accounts for approximately one-third of vaginitis cases¹
A yeast infection happens when a fungus called Candida albicans overgrows in your vagina and causes severe itchiness, irritation, and discharge. While Candida albicans is the type of fungus that most commonly causes yeast infections, there are many other types of fungus that can also cause a yeast infection. Before you get grossed out, remember that it is totally natural to have fungus in your vagina. Lactobacillus bacteria produces acid to prevent an overgrowth of fungus and generally help keep your vagina happy and healthy. It’s only when this fungus grows too much that you can begin to have an issue.
Approximately 75 percent of women will experience yeast infections in her lifetime, making them a woman’s biggest worry for antifungal resistance.
Did you know?
The prevalence of vulvovaginal candidiasis is highest among women in their reproductive years:
- 55 percent of female university students report having had at least one healthcare provider-diagnosed episode by age 25 years
- 29 to 49 percent of premenopausal women report having had at least one lifetime episode
More than 50 percent of women over the age of 25 will have at least one episode of vulvovaginal candidiasis,² and many more will experience recurrent infection.³
Yeast infection symptoms can range from mild to moderate, and include:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
- A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- Watery vaginal discharge
As the symptoms of both Yeast infections and Bacterial Vaginosis can be very similar, 2 out of 3 women frequently misdiagnose their symptoms and use the wrong treatment.
One major recognizable difference between Bacterial Vaginosis and a Yeast infection is the bothersome unpleasant “fishy” odor associated with Bacterial Vaginosis, especially after having sex. If you think you have Bacterial Vaginosis, please visit our website at www.gynalac.com to learn more bacterial vaginosis and how it is different from yeast infections.
Complicated Yeast Infection:
You might have a complicated yeast infection if:
- You have severe signs and symptoms, such as extensive redness, swelling and itching that leads to tears, cracks or sores.
- You have four or more yeast infections in a year.
- Your infection is caused by a less typical type of fungus (other than Candida albicans)
- You’re pregnant.
- You have uncontrolled diabetes.
- Your immune system is weakened because of certain medications or conditions such as HIV infection.
- Tight-fitting pantyhose
- Douching, which removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect you from infection.
- Scented feminine products, including bubble bath, pads, and tampons.
- Hot tubs and very hot baths
- Unnecessary antibiotic use, such as for colds or other viral infections
- Staying in wet clothes, such as swimsuits and workout attire, for long periods of time
“If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, even for an unrelated condition, you may want to use a vaginal pH regulator such as GYNALAC (www.gynalac.com), immediately after completing your course of antibiotics, to help maintain a natural and healthy vaginal balance.”
Recurrent Yeast Infections: Recurrent yeast infections, also called Recurrent Vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), can be super frustrating. Click here to learn more about recurrent yeast infections and what you can do about them.
Antifungal Resistance: The growing concern over the risk of resistance is the primary reasons most healthcare practitioners are now turning towards new approaches to prevent recurrent yeast infections. Click here to learn more about using antibiotics wisely!