What is it?
• the most common cause of vaginal infections • a fungus which is normally present in small, harmless quantities in the mouth, digestive tract and vagina. Yeast infections are so common that ¾ of women will have one at some time in their lives. Half of all women have more than one infection in their lives. If you have symptoms of a yeast infection, your clinician will probably want to talk to you about your symptoms and examine you to make sure a yeast infection is the cause. Women who:
• use oral contraceptives (birth control pills) • have disturbed the normal chemical or bacterial vaginal environment with antibiotics, use of feminine hygiene products or douches. Even your own menstrual cycle can alter the balance in your vagina. Occasionally, an infection may be induced through intercourse or oral-genital contact. • have lowered resistance caused by stress, fatigue, any illness or poor nutrition (especially high Yeast are tiny organisms that normally live in small numbers on the skin and inside the vagina. The acidic environment of the vagina helps keep yeast from growing. If the vagina becomes less acidic, too many yeast can grow and cause a vaginal infection. The acidic balance of the vagina can be changed by your period (menstruation), pregnancy, diabetes, certain antibiotics, birth control pills and steroids. Moisture and irritation of the vagina also seem to encourage yeast to grow. What are the symptoms? ¾ discharge is thick, white and may have the consistency of cottage cheese ¾ itching, burning, swelling and redness in the vulva ¾ pain or burning sensation may be experienced during urination or intercourse ¾ males may notice a red rash on the penis which may or may not itch • microscopic examination of vaginal secretions (for women) or of the ejaculate (for men) • if you notice frequent or chronic yeast infections, please consider getting tested for HIV infection • specific antifungal vaginal creams, suppositories or an oral medication (diflucan) Treatment is most effective if sexual activity is avoided during periods of medication. ¾ Follow good feminine hygiene to avoid unnecessary contamination from the rectum—wipe from front to ¾ Keep the vulva as dry as possible: air drying after bath or shower (or with blow dryer on low setting). ¾ Wear cotton underwear and avoid wearing tight garments especially to bed. ¾ Avoid irritants such as bubble baths, harsh soaps, deodorant tampons, feminine hygiene sprays, douches, or ¾ Maintain appropriate weight for your body. Lose weight if you are obese. ¾ Maintain good nutrition. Increase your intake of yogurt and acidophilus milk. Decrease your intake of refined carbohydrates such as sugars, syrups, etc. ¾ Keep a good level of general health. Infections occur most frequently during stressful times: after an ¾ Use condoms if you have more than one sexual partner, or are starting a relationship with a new partner. A service of the Klotz Student Health Center’s Health Promotion Dept. please call 818 677-3666 or 677-3692 (tty) 6/92; Rev 4/93, 10/94, 6/96, 8/97, 9/03 AR


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