Yeast infection

Synonyms: Candidiasis, Vaginitis

Medical Specialties: Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

A localized infection caused by fungi of the genus Candida, especially C. albicans, yeast infections may occur in both men and women and manifest as superficial infections located in moist parts of the body: skin folds, oral mucous membranes, respiratory tract, the vagina. Rarely, more serious systemic infections and endocarditis may be due to Candida. 

In Our Own Words

The delicate balance of microbes in your body can easily get out of whack due to lifestyle changes, medical conditions and medications. When this happens, your body may develop a yeast infection due to overgrowth of a type of yeast fungi called Candida. Possible causes of yeast infections include taking antibiotics, pregnancy, hormone fluctuations and diabetes.


Vaginal yeast infections are the most common, and they are associated with the following symptoms:


- A white, odorless vaginal discharge
- Itching, irritation and/or burning  
- Painful intercourse

The diagnosis is confirmed through identification of yeast under a microscope from a specimen scraped from the vaginal area. A vaginal yeast infection is treated with topical medications applied in and around the vagina, plus vaginal tablets and oral medications.

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Vulvovaginal yeast infection
  • Oral Candidiasis (oropharyngeal canadidiasis) also known as thrush
  • Invasive Candidiasis or candidemia
  • Diaper Rash
Side Effects
  • Itching, burning, irritation
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Painful intercourse
Share this article
  • The Cleveland Clinic. Health Information. Diseases and Conditions, 2012. Accessed July 2013.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Frequently Asked Questions:Vaginitis” Copyright 2011. Accessed July 2013.
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Copyright 2011.
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