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What Causes Yeast Infections?

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What Causes Yeast Infections?

Vaginal yeast infections are common, affecting nearly three-quarters of women at some point. While yeast infections can occur at any age, they’re more common during the years when a woman is menstruating. They happen less frequently during menopause or before puberty.

Although they’re common, many women don’t know what causes yeast infections or what they can do to prevent them. In this post, our team at Feminine Urgicare offers a brief overview of yeast infections, giving you the information you need to improve your vaginal health.

Why yeast infections happen

Yeast infections happen when fungi multiply and infect the vaginal area. Most yeast infections involve a fungus called Candida albicans — a microorganism usually present in the vaginal region and the gastrointestinal tract. 

Sometimes referred to as candidiasis, yeast infections happen when these organisms begin to multiply rapidly. The vaginal and vulvar areas are particularly prone to infections due to the warm and moist environment that provides ideal growing conditions for yeasts.

Any woman can develop a yeast infection, but they are more common among women who:

  • Have diabetes
  • Are pregnant
  • Use hormone replacement therapy
  • Use hormonal birth control
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Are experiencing fluctuations in hormones
  • Take certain medications, including some antibiotics

Chronic stress can also trigger imbalances in your natural flora, increasing the risk of yeast infections.

Yeast infection symptoms

Normally, small populations of Candida albicans cause no symptoms. But in a yeast infection, the proliferation of yeast typically causes symptoms like:

  • Vaginal or vulvar itching
  • Vaginal or vulvar burning
  • Thick vaginal discharge
  • Redness or swelling in the vulvar area
  • Pain or burning during urination 
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

These symptoms can occur with other infections, including urinary tract infections and some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Treating yeast infections

Schedule a medical evaluation immediately rather than trying over-the-counter products or home remedies that can allow the problem to worsen.

Before treatment, our team examines your vulva and vaginal area for signs of infection. Then, we take a small swab or sample of the vaginal fluids for microscopic evaluation. This step ensures you receive the appropriate treatment tailored to the precise cause of your symptoms.

Yeast infections respond well to antifungal medications. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, we may prescribe topical or oral medication or both. If you have recurrent yeast infections, we can recommend simple lifestyle changes that can help, like:

  • Avoiding tight clothing
  • Not using scented feminine care products
  • Avoiding douches
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Changing out of wet or sweaty clothes immediately

While yeast infections aren’t sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), you can still pass the infection to your partner. Prompt treatment is essential for preventing transmission.

Don’t ignore your symptoms

Yeast infections won’t resolve on their own. To learn how we can help, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Feminine Urgicare in Paramus, New Jersey, today.