Yeast Infection (Candidiasis, Monilia)

Yeast is a common vaginal infection. A small amount of yeast is part of the balance of normal skin in the vagina, penis and anal areas. Sometimes too many yeast cells grow because the bacteria that keep them in balance have been destroyed. When this happens, we say that there is a yeast “infection" or overgrowth. Most of us are born with yeast on and in our bodies. It is not always sexually transmitted.

When antibiotics are given to treat a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or other diseases, this can upset the normal vaginal balance and cause a yeast infection. Hormone changes during pregnancy, use of birth control, and menstruation can also cause yeast to increase. High blood sugar (diabetes) can be another cause.

Allergic reactions to vaginal douches, perfumes, soaps and non-cotton fabrics may affect the vaginal balance and cause an overgrowth of yeast. Tight clothing and underwear that does not allow air to flow around the body is also a problem.

What Are the Signs


Women complain of itching, redness and burning. painful urination and a dry or painful feeling during sex may be noticed. If there is any discharge, it can look like cottage cheese.

Test


Yes. One can be done right away. Other kinds of tests must be sent to the lab. It is very important that tests for STDs are done at the same time.

Treatment


The goal is to bring back a balance among all yeast and bacteria that are needed for a normal vagina. This is hard to do, so plan on working with your doctor on a treatment plan that is right for you. If you are being treated for any STDs, you may have to think about finishing that treatment first, then working on a healthy yeast balance. Male partners of women with yeast overgrowth are not treated. But, they should be checked for STDs and signs of yeast infection.

One problem with buying yeast treatments without having a medical checkup is that another disease may be causing the yeast overgrowth. Get tests for all partners first. Then talk about self treatment with your doctor.