Your vagina is home to tiny organisms known as vaginal yeast. Having yeast in your vagina is normal and usually causes no problems. But sometimes, these microorganisms exceed healthy levels and cause a condition known as vaginal yeast overgrowth.
When there is too much yeast in your vagina, your vagina may become inflamed and you may experience various irritating symptoms.
Because this is a common occurrence for women, it’s important to understand the causes and symptoms of vaginal yeast overgrowth, as well as your treatment options.
With that in mind, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, of Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, is happy to provide some helpful information about this common gynecological condition.
A yeast known as candida lives in your vagina as well as in your digestive system and on your skin. Under normal circumstances, candida doesn’t bother you. But when it grows out of control, it can eventually cause an infection known as vaginal candidiasis.
Vaginal candidiasis is one of several types of yeast infections that can develop in your vagina. It can cause such symptoms as:
Vaginitis caused by yeast overgrowth and other organisms is very common, affecting about three-quarters of women at some point in their lives.
Although vaginal yeast overgrowth can happen at any time, it is more likely to occur at certain times or in women with specific health conditions.
For example, the chances of developing vaginal yeast overgrowth go up during pregnancy or when you’re taking birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or other hormone-based treatments.
It can also occur commonly in women with diabetes, HIV, or conditions that affect the immune system.
In addition, medications such as steroids, antibiotics, and some chemotherapy agents can create conditions in your body that allow the overgrowth of vaginal yeast.
Fortunately, relatively simple treatment can usually bring vaginitis and vaginal yeast overgrowth under control quickly.
In most cases, we can successfully treat vaginal yeast overgrowth with either an oral medication or an antifungal cream, ointment, or suppositories, which you insert into your vagina for up to a week.
Sometimes, stubborn yeast infections or repeated yeast infections require longer courses of treatment.
It’s best not to ignore vaginal discomfort and other symptoms because they may worsen and get harder to treat over time. Also, it’s important to have a care provider rule out other more serious conditions that may cause similar vaginal symptoms.
If you’re experiencing vaginal symptoms, Dr. Al-Hakeem and our team at Westover Hills Women’s Health are here to help. To schedule an appointment at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool.