Yeast is a fungus that normally lives in the vagina in small numbers. A vaginal yeast infection means that too many yeast cells are growing in the vagina. These infections are very common. Although they can bother you a lot, they are not usually serious
A healthy vagina has many bacteria and a small number of yeast cells. When something happens to change the balance of these organisms, the yeast cells can increase rapidly and cause symptoms. Pregnancy, diabetes or HIV infection can also cause a yeast infection.
What are the symptoms?
A yeast infection causes itching or soreness in the vagina and sometimes causes pain or burning when you urinate or have sex. Some women also have a thick, clumpy, white discharge that has no odour and looks a little like cottage cheese.
These symptoms are more likely to occur during the week before your menstrual period.
Can vaginal yeast infections be prevented?
If you practice good genital hygiene, you can help prevent infection.
- Keep your vaginal area clean.
- After using the toilet, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading yeast or bacteria from your anus to the vagina or urinary tract.
- Wear underwear that helps keep your genital area dry and doesn't hold in warmth and moisture. Cotton underwear are preferable.
- Change pads often.
- Don't douche or use deodorant tampons or feminine sprays, powders, or perfumes. These items can change the normal balance of organisms in your vagina.