Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD.
Candida vaginitis or
“yeast infection” is caused by the fungus Candida. It is very
common and can occur in women of all ages. Taking antibiotics can make it more
likely to develop a yeast infection because antibiotics “kill” the
“healthy, protective” bacteria. Lack of the healthy bacteria allows
the yeast to grow. When yeast organisms are present in large amounts, they cause
symptoms. Women who are diabetic or who are receiving chronic steroid treatment
may be more susceptible to yeast infections. Any medical condition in which the
immune system is suppressed will increase the risk
developing a yeast infection.
Controversy exists as to whether yeast infections can be sexually transmitted.
Recent studies indicate that they are not sexually transmitted in most cases.
Candida vaginitis is diagnosed by examining the vaginal discharge under a
microscope or sending a specimen for culture. In most cases, it is easily
treated with vaginal creams, suppositories, or oral medication. A few women have
recurrent yeast infections.
With Your Diagnosis
The most common
• Vulvar and/or vaginal
• White, often clumpy
discharge, sometimes describedas “cottage cheese–like.”
(However, yeast infections can be present with minimal discharge as
• Vulvar and/or vaginal
infections can be treated by using a vaginal cream, suppository, or an oral
medication. The vaginal creams and suppositories are available without a
prescription, whereas the oral medication is only available by prescription. The
over-thecounter medications are just as effective, in most cases, as the
prescription medication. Some women find the oral medication more convenient to
use than vaginal medications. Side effects from any of the medications are
uncommon. Occasionally, some women may experience vaginal or vulvar
“burning” with the
• Take or use all the
medication as directed. If you do not finish a complete course, the yeast
infection may not be completely treated and may recur.
• If you have a lot of vulvar
itching and discomfort, doing “sitz baths” (soaking the vulvar area
for 10–15 minutes in plain water that is at a comfortable temperature),
then patting the area dry and gently blow-drying the vulvar area can sometimes
help relieve the symptoms more
• Eating 8 ounces of yogurt
with live acidophilus bacteria daily may help prevent recurrent yeast
infections. (And yogurt is a good source of
• Don’t have
intercourse while being treated.
Avoid wearing tight, “nonbreathing” clothing; for example, panty
hose and tight pants.
When to Call
• If symptoms persist
after you have finished the complete course of
• If you experience any
adverse reaction to the medication, such as vaginal/vulvar