Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of tiny yeast cells in the vagina. Small numbers of these cells live in the vagina normally, but can cause an infection when they overgrow.
Symptoms include itchiness, burning, and/or a feeling of swollenness and irritation in the vagina, and a thick, white “cottage cheese” discharge. A provider can diagnose yeast infections through an exam and doing tests by taking a sample of vaginal fluid using a gentle swab.
Over-the-counter treatments can be effective, but if not, a provider can prescribe creams, inserts or medications to treat the infection. Steps you can take to avoid yeast infections include changing out of wet/damp clothes quickly, not using scented products in the vaginal area, not wearing underwear at night, avoiding tight underwear, and wearing cotton underwear instead of nylon.
Even if you have had yeast infections in the past, you may need to be seen for another visit for a new infection to determine the cause of the symptoms and determine which treatment would work best for you.