Candidiasis/Yeast Infection Quick Facts: Fast Facts About STDs

Fast Facts About STDs: Candidiasis/Yeast Infection

Name of Disease or Infection
Candidiasis; also known as yeast infection or VVC.

Type of Disease or Infection

Parasitic infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans.

What Is It?
The fungus C. albicans is present in the healthy vagina; however, overgrowth for various reasons can cause what is commonly known as a yeast infection. This overgrowth can be due to hormonal imbalance or changes in the acidity of the vagina. This infection is very common and easy to treat.

How Do I Get It?
Most cases of Candidiasis are caused by a person's own Candida organisms. Because circumstances as common as dietary imbalances or taking antibiotics can cause this condition, virtually all women will experience Candidiasis at some point in their lives. Men can also develop the condition, either spontaneously or rarely, through sexual contact with an infected partner.

Intense vaginal itching and/or burning; with or without lumpy, foul-smelling, cheesy discharge. Males may experience an itchy rash on the penis.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have It?
If you've never had Candidiasis before, see your health care practitioner, who will diagnose the infection using a wet mount examination of discharge under microscope. If you've had candidiasis previously and are experiencing similar symptoms as you have in the past, you can pick up an over-the-counter remedy at most drugstores or grocery stores. If the symptoms persist or are different than those of earlier conditions, see your doctor at once.

How Do I Get Rid of It?
The most common treatments are over-the-counter creams or suppositories (e.g., clotrimazole/Gyne-Lotrimin, miconazole/Monostat). New oral prescriptions, such as Diflucan, are being used more commonly, especially in cases of severe infection. It usually takes three to seven days for symptoms to cease, and seven to ten days for the infection to completely heal.

What Happens If I Don't Treat It?
Symptoms, which may be very uncomfortable for most people, may persist. You may notice inflamed, swollen tissue with patches of white, dead skin. There is a chance that the infection can be passed between sex partners. Candidiasis is easy to treat, though, so get thee to the drugstore!

Who Should I Tell?
If you have Candidiasis, you should tell any current or very recent partners (i.e., people you had sexual contact with over the last month). You do not need to tell future partners.