- Basic facts about yeast infections
- Yeast infection symptoms
- Common causes
- When to see a doctor
- How a pharmacist can help
Frequently Asked Questions About Yeast Infections
- What is a vaginal yeast infection?
- How do I know if I have one?
- What are some common causes?
- Can hormones contribute?
- Can menstruation, pregnancy or menopause contribute to the occurrence of yeast infections?
- Are all yeast infection treatments the same?
- Do 1-day treatments cure faster than 3-day treatments?
- Can I get a yeast infection from having sex?
- Can I give a yeast infection to my sexual partner?
- Is it okay to have sex while I’m using Canesten®?
- I’ve had several yeast infections over the past year. Should I continue to use OTC preparations?
- I used an OTC product for my yeast infection, but the infection didn’t go away. What should I do?
- Can yeast infections be prevented?
- When should I see my doctor?
1. What is a vaginal yeast infection?
A yeast infection is a common type of vaginal infection caused most commonly by an overgrowth of yeast organisms called Candida albicans. Candida is normally present in your body, but when an imbalance occurs, such as when the normal pH of the vagina changes or when your hormonal levels change, Candida can multiply. When that happens, you can get a vaginal yeast infection.
2. How do I know if I have one?
You may experience itching, burning, and a thick, white vaginal discharge that might resemble cottage cheese. You may also notice redness or experience vulvar pain. If this is your first yeast infection, don’t try to diagnose or treat it yourself. The only way to know for sure is to see your doctor. It might be another kind of vaginal condition, and more than one infection can occur at the same time.
3. What are some common causes?
Certain antibiotics can create conditions for yeast overgrowth. If you take oral antibiotics, or are on a regular course of antibiotic therapy, a yeast infection can result. Steroid therapy can also cause yeast overgrowth. Yeast infections can occur in certain people with diabetes. When blood sugar is high, yeast can grow rapidly. Your lifestyle can make a difference, too. Wearing tight jeans, synthetic underwear, or a wet swimsuit can create a warm, moist environment where Candida thrives. Douching and wiping from rear to front after urination or a bowel movement can also negatively affect the vaginal environment. A compromised immune system can also result in yeast overgrowth. If you are currently experiencing vaginal infections that either don’t subside or are recurrent, see your doctor promptly to determine the cause of your symptoms and to receive proper medical care.
4. Can hormones contribute?
Yes. In a normal cycle, estrogen deposits glycogen, a form of sugar, in the cells in the lining of the vagina. Progesterone causes the cells to be shed into the vagina, so the sugar becomes available for yeast to feed on, multiply, and grow.
5. Can menstruation, pregnancy or menopause contribute to the occurrence of yeast infections?
Changes in hormone levels which occur around the time of your period, during pregnancy or at menopause, can contribute to yeast infections. Canesten® can be used during menstruation. If you are pregnant, or think you may be, do not use Canesten® unless advised by a doctor.
6. Are all yeast infection treatments the same?
No. Some products merely relieve the symptoms, and others cure the infection. When choosing the treatment for your yeast infection, select a cure so you have the best chance to eliminate your yeast infection. Click here for information on the different Canesten® products available.
7. Do 1-day treatments cure faster than 3-day treatments?
No. You can’t cure yeast infections in a day. 1-day treatments, such as Canesten® 1-Day ComforTAB® Combi, need only be inserted once, but they work over 3 days to cure your yeast infection. You will begin to experience relief of your symptoms soon after beginning treatment, with a cure within 7 days.
8. Can I get a yeast infection from having sex?
Rarely. While a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease, it is possible to contract a yeast infection through sexual relations. However, sex is an uncommon source of infection. Yeast infections are the result of a disturbance in the vaginal environment, which can have a variety of causes.
9. Can I give a yeast infection to my sexual partner?
Yes. It is possible, though not common, for a sexual partner to develop a yeast infection. If you think you have a yeast infection and your partner has genital itching, redness, or discomfort, they should contact their doctor. Your partner's doctor should know that you have (or may have) a yeast infection, so a more precise diagnosis can be made.
10. Is it okay to have sex while I’m using Canesten®?
It is probably not a good idea. If you’re treating a yeast infection, you should abstain from sex during the course of the treatment and cure (about 7 days). This way, your yeast infection will likely be cured and you will minimize the chance of transmitting the infection to your partner. In addition, Canesten® may reduce the effectiveness of some birth control methods, such as latex condoms, diaphragms and vaginal spermicides. This effect is temporary and occurs only during treatment.
11. I’ve had several yeast infections over the past year. Should I continue to use OTC preparations?
If you've had several yeast infections within a year (i.e., if you have one every 2 months, or more often), it is considered a recurring yeast infection, and you should notify your doctor. Recurrent yeast infections can indicate a more serious underlying condition that should be diagnosed and treated.
12. I used an OTC product for my yeast infection, but the infection didn’t go away. What should I do?
If this happens, you should consult your doctor. There are several common (and treatable) vaginal infections that have symptoms similar to those of a yeast infection. Also, women can have yeast infections that do not respond to a particular treatment. There could be a serious underlying medical cause for your infections, including diabetes or a compromised immune system. Your doctor can diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment for your condition.
13. Can yeast infections be prevented?
Although it might not be possible to completely avoid vaginal yeast infections, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of developing one.
- Dry the outside vaginal area thoroughly after a shower, bath, or swim. Change out of a wet bathing suit or damp workout clothes as soon as possible.
- Wear cotton underwear.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
- Wipe from the front to the rear (away from the vagina) after a bowel movement or urination.
- Avoid using vaginal deodorants, scented tampons or douches. Douching and deodorants may disturb the vaginal environment.
14. When should I see my doctor?
You should see your doctor if this is your first yeast infection, if you are pregnant, if you have compromised immunity (for example, if you have HIV or have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy), or if your yeast infection has recurred within a 2-month period. Girls under the age of 12 should also see their doctor before treating a yeast infection.
Consult your doctor if you are using a cure and there is no improvement within 3 to 7 days, complete relief is not felt within 7 days, or if symptoms return within 2 months. These could be signs of something other than a yeast infection.