What is a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
A vaginal yeast infection is when there is an overgrowth of normally occurring yeast (candida albicans) in your vagina. It is sometimes called monilia or candidiasis. Approximately 75 percent of all women experience a yeast infection sometime in their life. What Are the Symptoms of a Vaginal Yeast Infection? The most obvious symptom of a yeast infection is a white discharge from your vagina. This discharge is thick and lumpy, resembling cottage cheese. Some women also experience itching, soreness, irritation or burning in the vaginal area. You may notice a rash or redness outside the vagina and may experience pain during intercourse. What Causes Yeast Infections? The fungal organism, candida albicans, causes the majority of yeast infection. The yeast normally lives in your gastrointestinal tract, mucous membranes of your vagina, mouth and nose, and your skin. Usually, your body keeps candida albicans low through naturally produced bacteria. Howe...
Alternative Names Yeast infection - vagina; Vaginal candidiasis; Monilial vaginitis Prevention Avoid persistent and excessive moisture in the genital area by wearing underwear or pantyhose with cotton crotches, and loose-fitting slacks. Avoid wearing wet bathing suits or exercise clothing for long periods of time, and wash them after each use. References Nviriesy P. Vulvovaginal candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis. Infect Dis Clin North Am , 2008;22:637-652. Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology . 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.
Back in high school biology we all learned that there are many different organ systems in the body--the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the reproductive system, the urinary system and so forth. I think of them as having separate organs and operating differently. So it never made sense to me that something that had to do with the reproductive system (sex) would affect the urinary system (urinary tract infections). But Oh! How wrong I was.
Just about every young woman who begins her adult sexual life, no matter what her age, has dealt with the dreaded urinary tract infection ( watch a UTI video ), often as a result of sexual activity.
But why? My anatomy & physiology classes have come in handy; now I know that the urethra, which carries urine from your bladder to the point where it is excreted, is really, really close to the opening of the vagina, both of which are right above the opening of the anus, where your solid waste is excreted. Bacteria that's hangin...
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