Yeast infections

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
A yeast infection, also called candidiasis (kan-dih-DIE-ah-sis), can be a major source of discomfort for women. Yeast infections occur when there's an overgrowth of certain organisms that are naturally present in the vagina. Usually caused by the fungus Candida (KAN-di-dah) albicans (AL bi cans), the symptoms of a yeast infection include external itching, sometimes accompanied by a white, thick discharge, and redness of the vulva. In some cases, there may be pain during urination or intercourse. You can help prevent yeast infections by practicing good personal hygiene, wearing cotton undergarments, and avoiding snug-fitting clothes like tight jeans and panty hose, which restrict air circulation. Also, limit your intake of foods that are high in sugar and starch. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes and pregnancy can contribute to yeast infections, and women who are on the pill or taking antibiotic medications can be susceptible to recurrent episodes. Males can also carry the fungus, though they usually experience no symptoms. If you have a frequent pattern of reinfection, your sexual partner may need to be treated. The standard treatment is using vaginal creams, suppositories, or oral medications. For more information on yeast infections, contact a health care professional.

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