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Yeast Infections and Vaginitis

It is normal for yeast to live and grow in your mouth, intestine and vagina. However, a yeast infection can occur when there's too much of a certain type of yeast called candida.

At a Glance:

  • very common
  • easily treated
  • should be diagnosed by a health care provider like Planned Parenthood

Telehealth with Planned Parenthood

Can't make it to a health center? For yeast infections, you may not have to. Learn more about our new telehealth options!

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What Should I Do If I Think I Have a Yeast Infection?

Although they're not always the most serious health problem, only a health care professional can tell if you really have a yeast infection and not something more serious.

You should visit your local Planned Parenthood health center and talk with a health care professional if

  • you have abnormal discharge, odor, irritation, bleeding or pain
  • your infection won't go away
What is the difference between a yeast infection and vaginitis?

Vaginitis is an irritation of the vagina or vulva. This irritation can have all sorts of underlying causes (one example is a yeast infection, another is bacterial vaginosis).

Yeast infections are often blamed for anything that might be off-balance; however, they're only one cause of vaginitis. There are many other common causes, so before you begin any over-the-counter treatments, please visit your local Planned Parenthood health center to get tested first.

What causes yeast infections?

The yeast, candida, often starts to overgrow because the normal conditions of the vagina have been changed. The normal balance can get thrown off due to:

  • certain antibiotics
  • diabetes
  • certain drugs (like cortisone)
  • changes in hormone levels
  • pregnancy
  • and more
How is a yeast infection treated?

There are many different treatments including pills, creams, suppositories and vaginal tablets. Many of these treatments are available over the counter. Visit your local Planned Parenthood health center before picking up your over-the-counter medications to be sure that you are following the right treatment plan.

Can men get yeast infections too?

Yes, men can get them too! A male yeast infection can appear as a reddish rash or irritation on the penis or scrotum. If you think you might have a male yeast infection, then please come in to Planned Parenthood to find out for sure.

How can I prevent a yeast infection?

You can help prevent getting a yeast infection by following some of these best practices:

  • Hygiene
    • Yeast likes to grow in damp places, so keep your genital area as dry as possible
    • Wash regularly with soap and water
    • Rinse and dry thoroughly
    • Use dry towels
    • Don't share towels
    • Avoid sitting in a wet bathing suit
  • Sex
    • Do not have vaginal intercourse if you think you or your partner might have any sort of infection
    • Always use a condom or a internal condom