Yeast infection occurs when new yeast are introduced into the area or there is an increase in the quantity of yeast there relative to the quantity of bacteria (as when bacteria are eradicated by antibiotics). The yeast can then take over and cause irritation of the vulva and vagina (vaginitis).
Yeast infection of the vulva and vagina tends also to occur with any injury to these tissues (as from chemotherapy), immune deficiency (as from AIDS or from using cortisone-type medications) and in women with diabetes mellitus.
The infection can be treated with antifungal medications applied to the affected area or taken by mouth. Topically applied antibiotic creams include butoconazole (FEMSTAT 3), clotrimazole (LOTRIMIN), miconazole (MONISTAT), and terconazole (TERAZOL 3). Clotrimazole, miconazole, terconazole, and nystatin (MYCOSTATIN) are also available as vaginal tablets. Oral antibiotics for yeast vaginitis and vulvitis include fluconazole (DIFLUCAN). During pregnancy, only the topical creams are used.
Candida may be normally present in small numbers in some women and not cause disease but the presence of Candida without symptoms of infection does not require treatment.