What is a vaginal yeast infection?

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Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
A vaginal yeast infection is the overgrowth of yeast in the vagina.  There is yeast and bacteria in the vagina at all times.  If the PH of the vagina decreases, that can allow a better growing environment for yeast to overgrow.  The clinical name for yeast is candida.  Candida is a fungus that is on most people's skin.  Anytime there is excess moisture or excess sugar to allow the yeast to overgrow, it can.  Some people can get yeast infections on their skin, their feet, their hands, and their scalp, but the most common place for yeast infections is in the groin or vaginal area.

A vaginal yeast infection is irritation of the vagina and the area around it called the vulva (vul-vuh).

Yeast is a type of fungus. Yeast infections are caused by overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. Small amounts of yeast are always in the vagina. But when too much yeast grows, you can get an infection.

Yeast infections are very common. About 75 percent of women have one during their lives. And almost half of women have two or more vaginal yeast infections.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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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.