- Who Gets It?
- Complications and Side Effects
What is a yeast infection?
Yeast infections are more common than you might think. Yeast is a fungus that is normally found on your skin and digestive system. If you are a woman, you will also find yeast in your vaginal area. Yeast grows normally in those body parts, but it can develop into an infection if it grows out of control. It may also occur on your penis or scrotum if you are male, but it is not as common.
Types of yeast infection
A yeast infection is a condition that occurs when too much yeast grows in certain areas of your body, causing an infection called candidiasis. This condition may cause symptoms that greatly affect your quality of life, including complications leading to other medical conditions. In some cases, a yeast infection may spread from one area of your body to another.
Yeast infections may affect different parts of your body in different ways:
- Thrush: This is a type of yeast infection that affects the mouth and throat. You may notice white patches in your mouth, a loss of taste, or pain while eating or swallowing.
- Vaginal yeast infection: As the name suggests, vaginal yeast infections affect the vagina. These yeast infections cause itching and discomfort and may bring about complications like vaginitis.
- Yeast infections of the skin: This type of yeast infection affects the skin and may cause your skin to itch and develop a rash.
- Invasive yeast infection: This is a serious infection of the bloodstream that can impact many major organs and may develop into a life-threatening condition.
Symptoms of a yeast infection
Depending on where your yeast infection is based, the symptoms may include the following:
- White patches in your mouth
- Pain when swallowing food
- Shiny, white areas on your penis
- Irritation and itching of the vagina
- A burning feeling when urinating or during sex
- Swelling and redness of the vulva
- Thick, white, and odorless vaginal discharge which is commonly described as looking like cottage cheese
- Vaginal discharge that appears watery
Causes of a yeast infection
Yeast infections are usually caused by yeast overgrowth in the parts of the body where it is normally found. Infections have a variety of causes, including:
Who can get a yeast infection?
Some people are more likely to get a yeast infection than others, including those who:
Diagnosing a yeast infection
If you are seeking treatment for a vaginal yeast infection, your doctor will first complete a vaginal exam to ensure proper diagnosis. They may take a sample of vaginal discharge for examination. You should always be sure to get a doctor’s opinion when experiencing vaginal discomfort because at-home diagnoses are often faulty.
Treatments for a yeast infection
After you have been diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe medication to get rid of the yeast infection. The medications used to treat yeast infections are antifungals either applied topically as a cream, taken orally as a pill, or used as suppositories placed in the vagina.
The vaginal suppository Monistat and generic versions of this medication (Miconazole) will successfully treat most vaginal yeast infections.
There are several ways you can prevent a vaginal yeast infection or reinfection. These include:
Complications and side effects of a yeast infection
- Symptoms like redness, swelling, and itching become so severe that it causes tears or sores
- A recurrence of a yeast infection four or more times in one year
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Yeast Infection."
Mayo Clinic: "Yeast Infection (vaginal)."
National Cancer Institute: "Yeast Infection."
PennState Student Affairs: "Yeast Infection."
University of Michigan: "Vaginal Yeast Infections."
UCDAVIS: "Yeast Infections (vaginal)."