Yeast infection (vaginal) – Symptoms and causes

Understanding Yeast Infections: Symptoms and Causes

A yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis, is a common fungal infection of the vagina. It occurs when a specific type of fungus called Candida albicans overgrows, disrupting the natural balance of microorganisms in the vagina. While yeast infections are not serious, they can be uncomfortable and irritating.

Symptoms of a Yeast Infection:

  • Intense itching and burning sensation in the vagina and vulva (the external area of the genitals).
  • Thick, white discharge with a cottage cheese-like consistency.
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva.
  • Pain during urination or sexual intercourse.

Causes of Yeast Infections:

Several factors can contribute to a yeast infection, including:

  • Hormonal fluctuations: Changes in hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause can disrupt the natural balance of yeast in the vagina.
  • Antibiotics: Using antibiotics for other infections can also kill beneficial bacteria in the vagina, allowing yeast to overgrow.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes: High blood sugar levels can create a favorable environment for yeast growth.
  • Weakened immune system: Conditions like HIV/AIDS or using immunosuppressant medications can increase the risk of yeast infections.
  • Douching: Douching disrupts the natural balance of vaginal flora and can increase the risk of yeast infections.
  • Tight-fitting clothing: Wearing tight-fitting clothing or non-breathable underwear can trap moisture and create a favorable environment for yeast growth.

It’s important to note that:

  • Yeast infections are not considered sexually transmitted infections (STIs). While sexual activity can sometimes irritate the vagina and contribute to symptoms, it doesn’t directly cause yeast infections.
  • Symptoms of a yeast infection can be similar to other vaginal infections or conditions. Seeking professional medical advice is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Seeking Help:

If you experience symptoms of a yeast infection, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional. They can diagnose the infection, rule out other possibilities, and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Treatment options typically involve antifungal creams, suppositories, or tablets, which are highly effective in clearing the infection.


  • Early diagnosis and treatment of yeast infections are crucial for preventing complications and alleviating discomfort.
  • If you experience recurrent yeast infections, consulting your doctor is essential to identify and address any underlying factors contributing to the problem.
  • Maintaining good vaginal hygiene practices, like avoiding douching and wearing cotton underwear, can help prevent future yeast infections.