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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0

Vaginal Yeast Infections

A yeast infection is one of the most common types of vaginal infections. Yeast organisms are normally present in the rectal and vaginal areas. Yeast causes trouble only when there are too many of them.

You must see your doctor to check if you have a yeast infection for sure.

You are more likely to have a yeast infection: - if you are taking an antibiotic- if you are pregnant- if you have diabetes- if you wear tightly fitting clothing- you are around heat and moisture.

The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • severe itching, redness, and soreness of the vagina
  • a vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese
  • burning feeling when going to the bathroom.

How long will it last?

With proper treatment vaginal yeast infections clear up in 1 week.

How is it treated?

Your doctor will treat you with one or more of the following treatments.

  1. Vaginal suppositories

    You need the medicine prescribed by your physician.

    Insert a suppository into your vagina each evening just before you go to bed. You will do this for 3 or 7 nights, depending on the type of suppository. Your body temperature will melt the suppository, so you may want to wear a sanitary pad to protect your underwear. Continue using the suppositories even if your menstrual period occurs during this time. This treatment should cure the infection.

  2. Vaginal cream

    You need the cream prescribed by your doctor.

    Sometimes it is necessary to use vaginal cream instead of or in addition to vaginal suppositories. For example, it may be necessary if the outside part of your vagina is red, swollen, and itchy. The vaginal cream may be applied two times a day for 4 to 7 days, depending on how bad your symptoms are.

  3. Recently, fluconazole (Diflucan) was approved for single-dose oral treatment of yeast infections. The dose is a 150 mg tablet.

  4. Nonprescription medicines for yeast infections

    A number of medications for treating yeast infections recently became available without a prescription. You should see your doctor before you use any of these products, especially if:

    • you have never had a yeast infection
    • there is any doubt that yeast is the cause of your symptoms
    • you are sexually active.

    Treatment for yeast infections will not help or cure sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomonas.

  5. Prevention
    • Wash and rinse your external genitals and bottom regularly. Use a mild soap.
    • Wear clean underpants every day. Cotton panties with a cotton crotch are best.
    • Avoid vaginal spray deodorants and irritating soaps.
    • When you go to the bathroom, wipe front to back, never back to front.
    • If you feel the need to use a douche, do not douche more often than once a month. Douches tend to remove the normal bacteria that keep yeast from infecting the vagina.

Call Your Doctor During Office Hours If:

  • Your symptoms or discharge continue after using all the suppositories.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by David W. Kaplan, M.D., and the staff of the Adolescent Medicine Center, The Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems