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Definition: Yeast Infection



Yeast Infection - is irritation of the vagina and the area around the vagina, called the vulva. It is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus or yeast Candida. Yeast normally live in the vagina in small numbers, but when the bacteria in the vagina become out of balance, too many yeast grow and cause an infection. Vaginal yeast infections are very common. About 75 percent of women have a yeast infection during their lives. And almost half of women have two or more yeast infections.

The most common symptom of a yeast infection is extreme itchiness in and around the vagina. Other symptoms may include a thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese and does not have a bad smell; pain when urinating; pain or discomfort during sex; and burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and the area around it. Symptoms may be mild or severe.

Yeast infections can be cured with antifungal medicines in the form of creams, tablets, ointments or suppositories that are inserted into the vagina. These medicines include butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, nystatin, tioconazole and terconazole. These products can be bought over-the-counter at the drug store or grocery store. Your doctor can also prescribe you a single dose of oral fluconazole.

Infections that do not respond to these medicines are becoming more common. Using antifungal medicines when you don't really have a yeast infection can boost your risk of getting a hard-to-treat infection in the future.



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