Vaginal yeast infection is a common fungal infection of the genitals. It causes inflammation, irritation, itching, and vaginal discharge. It most commonly affects women, but men can get it too. Vaginal yeast infections, also called vaginal Candidiasis or vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC), are experienced by as many as 3 out of 4 women during their lifetime. Most women experience at least two infections. Common yeast infections are caused by the yeast species Candida albicans, but other species of Candida can also cause an infection. They may need different treatment.
Balanced levels of yeast and bacteria are normally present in a woman’s vagina, but disturbances in this delicate balance can lead to the development of an infection. Normally, the bacteria Lactobacillus creates an environment that does not encourage yeast overgrowth, but if yeast becomes dominant, symptoms of a yeast infection may emerge.
Yeast infections of the vagina are not sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but they can spread through oral-genital contact or during intercourse. They are more common in women who are sexually active.