What is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast is a fungus that is present in the body in small amounts. When there is an overproduction of this fungus, it can lead to a yeast infection. A yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, can affect many areas of the body including the mouth and skin, but most commonly occurs in the vagina where there is a sensitive yeast balance. Although not usually dangerous, the infection symptoms can be persistent if left untreated.
A yeast infection is commonly associated with the following symptoms:
- Itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Burning during urination
- Painful intercourse
- A thick, white, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge
- White patches in the mouth
Many symptoms of a yeast infection mimic other infections like bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection. You should always discuss your symptoms with a physician, especially if you have never had a prior yeast infection, for a proper diagnosis.
Yeast Infection Causes
The overproduction of yeast that causes a yeast infection can be caused by a number of different factors including:
- Antibiotic use
- Impaired immune system
- Birth control or hormone therapy
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose a yeast infection, you will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, as well as past vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections. Your physician will then do a pelvic exam to check the vulva for redness and swelling. A vaginal culture test will be taken to test vaginal discharge for abnormal amounts of yeast and other possible infections.
A yeast infection is easily treated with an anti-fungal prescription medication or vaginal medicine. There are many over-the-counter treatment options for a vaginal yeast infection, however, you should only treat your infection at home if you are sure you are not pregnant, do not have any STDs, and are sure that your symptoms are caused by a yeast infection. If you are unsure about any of these things, you should always see a physician for a proper diagnosis. Taking a probiotic supplement or foods with active cultures such as yogurt can add good bacteria to your body and help prevent future yeast infections.
If you suspect you might have a yeast infection, contact Springfield Urgent Care. One of our physicians can discuss your symptoms with you and test you for a yeast infection and other vaginal infections to receive proper treatment.