A vaginal yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is a common condition. A healthy vagina contains bacteria and some yeast cells. But when the balance of bacteria and yeast changes, the yeast cells can multiply. This causes intense itching, swelling, and irritation.
Treating a vaginal yeast infection can relieve symptoms within a few days. In more severe cases, it may take up to two weeks.
Vaginal yeast infections aren’t considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Sexual contact can spread it, but women who aren’t sexually active can also get them. Once you get a yeast infection, you’re also more likely to get another one.
What are the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection?
Vaginal yeast infections have a common set of symptoms, such as:
Whitish-gray and clumpy vaginal discharge is another telltale symptom. Some people say this discharge looks like cottage cheese. Sometimes the discharge may also be watery.
Usually the length of time your yeast infection is left untreated has a direct impact on how severe your symptoms may become.
What causes vaginal yeast infections?
The fungus Candida is a naturally occurring microorganism in the vaginal area. Lactobacillus bacteria keeps its growth in check.
But if there’s an imbalance in your system, these bacteria won’t work effectively. This leads to an overgrowth of yeast, which causes the symptoms of vaginal yeast infections.
Several factors can cause a yeast infection, including:
A specific kind of yeast called Candida albicans causes most yeast infections. These yeast infections are easily treatable.
If you’re having recurring yeast infections or problems getting rid of a yeast infection with conventional treatment, then a different version of Candida might be the cause. A lab test can identify what type of Candida you have.