Vaginal yeast infections are caused by overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. Candida normally lives in the vagina in small numbers, and it causes no symptoms. If the vaginal environment changes, the fungus may grow and cause an infection.
Changes in the vagina that encourage growth of Candida can occur with:
- Antibiotic use
- Wearing tight clothing
- Staying in a wet bathing suit for a longer time after swimming
The most common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is vaginal itch. Often, theres a thick, white discharge.
Oral-to-vaginal contact has not been studied enough to determine whether it increases the risk of a vaginal yeast infection. But some patients report onset of symptoms after this type of sexual experience. Since so many things can impact the vaginal environment and yeast infections are so common, this is not surprising.
Yeast is only one cause of a vaginal discharge. So if this is a new symptom, you should see your doctor for an evaluation. If your doctor diagnoses a yeast infection, it can be effectively treated with an antifungal cream or suppository. Sometimes doctors prescribe an oral antifungal pill called fluconazole (Diflucan).Your doctor will decide the best option for you.