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Vaginal Yeast Infection

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Vaginal Yeast Infection

(Vaginal Candidiasis; Candida Vulvovaginitis; Yeast Infection; Monilial Vulvovaginitis; Vulvovaginal Candidiasis; VVC)


A vaginal yeast infection is irritation of the vagina and outer area called the vulva.


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This condition is caused by a fungus. The fungus is normally found in the vagina in small amounts. When too much of it grows and spreads, it causes symptoms.

Risk Factors

Things that can raise the risk are:

  • Hormone changes from pregnancy or birth control pills
  • A weak immune system
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Family history of frequent yeast infections
  • Certain medicines such as:
    • Broad-spectrum antibiotics
    • Corticosteroids—taken by mouth for a long time
  • Using douches to rinse out the vagina


A vaginal yeast infection may cause:

  • Mild to severe itching
  • A thick, white, lumpy vaginal discharge
  • Soreness, irritation, or burning
  • Rash or redness on the skin outside the vagina
  • Painful urination
  • Painful sex


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A vaginal swab will be taken to confirm the diagnosis.


Yeast infections are treated with medicine. It may be given as pills or creams.

Probiotics may also be helpful when used with medicine.


To lower the risk of a yeast infection:

  • Dry the vaginal area well after a shower, bath, or swim.
  • Do not douche.
  • Try to control blood glucose levels—for people who have diabetes.




  • Blostein, F, Levin-Sparenberg, E., et al. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Annals of Epidemiology, 2017; 27 (9): 575-582.
  • Vaginal yeast infection. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/vaginal-yeast-infections.html.
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/vulvovaginal-candidiasis.
  • Yeast infections. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/yeast-infections.html.
  • 1/21/2021 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. https://www.dynamed.com/condition/vulvovaginal-candidiasis: Xie, H.Y., Feng, D., et al. Probiotics for vulvovaginal candidiasis in non-pregnant women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017; 11: CD010496.


  • Mary Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.