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Sanford Obstetrics & Gynecology
What are vaginal yeast infections?
How do I know if it is a yeast infection?
Primary symptoms are itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva (tissues at the opening of your vagina), swelling of the vulva and general vaginal pain and soreness, and burning sensations when urinating or having sexual intercourse. Most women will notice a white, thick vaginal discharge too.
Is yeast infection a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?
The fungus that causes yeast condition can be spread through oral-genital contact but yeast infection is not considered a STD. For instance, women who are not sexually active can get yeast infections.
Why does an overgrowth of yeast occur?Several factors can contribute to development of yeast infections. Antibiotic usage is one because antibiotics also kill healthy cells in your vagina, leading to yeast overgrowth. Anything that changes the normal vaginal bacteria, such as douching, can be a factor. Pregnant women or any women with higher estrogen levels are more susceptible. Diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels and women who have a weakened immune system also have more yeast infections.
What should I do?Several over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams or suppositories can provide relief and healing. If you’re not sure which one/s to purchase, talk to the pharmacist at your drug store.
At what point should I see a doctor?
If you’ve never before had these symptoms or it’s the first time you’ve ever had them, make an appointment with your doctor or OB/GYN. If you’re unsure whether or not this is a yeast infection, you should also make an appointment. If you’ve been self-treating and you haven’t seen improvement within a week, you should also see an OB/GYN. Depending on your symptoms and the extent of your infection, a doctor may prescribe short-term or long-course vaginal therapy with medications you insert or multiple or single doses of oral antifungal medication. Some yeast infections can be stubborn; if you finish treatment and your symptoms are still there or if they return within two months of being treated, see your OB/GYN again. You may need a maintenance plan to curb the yeast overgrowth and avoid future infections.
Christie Iverson, MD is board certified in obstetrics & gynecology, and specializes in laparoscopic surgery and DaVinci Robotic-assisted surgery. An OB/GYN at Sanford Seventh & Rosser Clinic in Bismarck, Dr. Iverson graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in Grand Forks, completed a residency in family practice at Fargo, and an OB/GYN internship at the University of Minnesota. She is also a fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.One. For an appointment, call (701) 323-8262 or click here to request an appointment online.