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Yeast is a fungus normally foundin healthy skin and moist areas on the body like the mouth and vagina and incases of fungi overgrowth these areas become infected. Yeast infections aremost commonly caused by Candida albicans, which is the type of fungus, andthese infections are not referred to as sexually transmitted disease since the yeast has already been present in the vagina and sexually inactivewomen can be infected just as well. Still, men can experience irritation on thepenis after sexual contact with the infected partner. A woman can suspect shehas a yeast infection if she experiences an itching or burning sensation aroundthe vagina (this can also happen during urination) if the pain or discomfortoccurs in the vagina during sexual intercourse; or if the vaginal dischargeresembles cottage cheese (in some cases it is thinner or it may not appear atall). Still the same symptoms can be present in the cases of some sexuallytransmitted diseases (STDs) or other inflammations so it is important to see adoctor to rule out these more serious conditions.

It is estimated that 1 in 20women will suffer from a recurrent yeast infection, which should certainly bereported to the doctor. Other situations that call for a visit to the doctor’soffice include pelvic pain, fever and a colored or fowl smelling dischargeexperienced by pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of 12,diabetics or persons with the weakened immune system. Vaginal yeast infections canoccur when the new yeast enters the vaginal area or when there is the overgrowthof the yeast already present which can happen as a result of the use ofantibiotics or immunosuppressants. Women that have suffered injuries tothe inner vagina especially after chemotherapy are also prone to yeastinfections while other risk groups includes women in using oral contraceptives,pregnant women, women with suppressed immune system or those using douches orscented vaginal sprays.

Oral and topical antifungalmedication is available for the treatment of vaginal yeast infection, but ifyeast is accompanied by another microbe, combination of treatments is required.Topical creams used to treat the yeast infection include Terazol, Monistat,Lotrimin and Femstat 3, whereas Lotrimin, Mycelex, Monistat, Terazol andMycostatin are available in vaginal tablet form. Doctors usually opt forthe vaginal treatment with vaginal tablets or suppositories. Oral medication isnot recommended to pregnant women since it can cause nausea, headaches orabdominal pain, but vaginal medication does not cause these side effects.

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