Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis
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 of
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.

Living With Your Diagnosis
The most common symptoms are:
• Vulvar and/or vaginal itching.
• White, often clumpy discharge, sometimes describedas “cottage cheese–like.” (However, yeast infections can be present with minimal discharge as well.)
• Vulvar and/or vaginal burning.

Yeast 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 medication.
The DOs
• 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 quickly.
• Eating 8 ounces of yogurt with live acidophilus bacteria daily may help prevent recurrent yeast infections. (And yogurt is a good source of calcium

The DON’Ts
• Don’t have intercourse while being treated.
• Avoid wearing tight, “nonbreathing” clothing; for example, panty hose and tight pants.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If symptoms persist after you have finished the complete course of medication.
• If you experience any adverse reaction to the medication, such as vaginal/vulvar burning.