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What causes vaginal yeast infections?

Renee E. Cotter, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Yeast infections are very common and can occur because of antibiotics, too much sugar in the diet, hormonal reasons, birth control pills and pregnancy. Typically discharge is different with yeast infections and will look like white or green cottage cheese. You can self-treat yeast infections with Monistat and use it to get rid of symptoms. Obviously if the infection doesn’t respond to treatment, you should talk to a gynecologist.
 
A yeast infection occurs when the good bacteria in your vagina gets killed off, says obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Lauren Streicher. To find out the most common cause of yeast infections, watch this video.
Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
The most common cause of a yeast infection is if a patient takes antibiotics (especially penicillin based antibiotics). These antibiotics can kill off good bacteria in your body, and by killing off the good bacteria in the vagina, that can allow the yeast to overgrow. There is yeast and bacteria at all times in the vagina, and they tend to be at a stalemate. If the bacteria is killed off, the yeast can overgrow causing a yeast infection.  Other ways of getting yeast infections are by excess sugar in your diet or a diet with higher carbs because yeast grows by sugar. Lastly, patients who exercise a significant amount and are wearing sweat drinched clothes are more likely to get a yeast infection. The sweating and the moisture in the vaginal and groin area can increase the risk of yeast infections.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.