Many of us are aware of what yeast infections are, and many women have had one before. These types of infections are uncomfortable to experience, but do you know what actually causes them?

Our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team provides some helpful information on yeast infections below, so keep reading!

What Is a Yeast Infection?

A vaginal yeast infection, which is also sometimes called vulvovaginal candidiasis, happens when the healthy yeast that normally lives in the vagina grows out of control. Yeast infections can also occur in other moist areas of the body (mouth, throat and gut), but they’re most common in the vagina.

We’ve listed the most common symptoms of yeast infections below.

Common Yeast Infection Symptoms

  • Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
  • A burning sensation—especially during intercourse or while urinating
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Vaginal pain and soreness
  • Vaginal rash
  • Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
  • Watery vaginal discharge

What Causes a Yeast Infection?

The fungus candida albicans is responsible for most vaginal yeast infections.

The vagina naturally contains a balanced mix of yeast (Candida) and bacteria. Certain bacteria (lactobacillus) act to prevent an overgrowth of yeast, but that balance can be disrupted, causing an overgrowth of Candida and resulting in the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection. Luckily, there are some ways you can prevent yeast infections from happening to you, and we’ve listed them below.

Ways to Prevent Yeast Infections

  • Avoid using scented tampons and pads, vaginal deodorants and perfumed feminine hygiene products.
  • Avoid douching. Douching washes away the good, healthy bacteria in the vagina, and throws off the vagina’s natural balance.
  • Wear breathable underwear. Since yeast infections occur in moist areas, cotton is your best choice as it doesn’t hold onto heat or moisture and will keep the genital area dry.
  • Use antibiotics only when you have to. Antibiotics can cause a yeast imbalance in the body, so if you don’t have to, don’t take them.
  • Manage your diabetes. If you have it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and keep them under control.

Have further questions about yeast infections or need other medical care? If so, don’t hesitate to stop by our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team today!