Need to Know: Yeast Infections

What is a Yeast infection?

Yeast is naturally present in the vagina. However, yeast infections occur when there is an overgrowth of a specific kind of yeast, known as Candida, in the vagina.

How do I know if I have one?

Symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Itching and irritation in the vagina and around the vulva
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Vaginal pain and soreness
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance

What causes them?

According to LUÜNA friend Dr. Lily Liu, yeast infections are caused when there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in our bodies. This happens when the environment of the vagina changes. This can be caused by:

  • Wearing tight or damp clothes, especially in humid weather 
  • Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy or when taking hormonal contraceptives
  • Douching or using harsh intimate washes, disrupting the microbiome in our vagina

How can I get rid of it?

Usually, some medicine from the pharmacy or prescribed by your doctor should do the trick. If it keeps coming back, you should see your doctor for a long-term plan.

Can I prevent it?

According to Dr. Lily, some find preventive measures to be helpful while others don’t see any effect. Although there’s no guarantee it’ll work for you, you might want to try some of the following:

  • Change underwear daily and wash underwear in hot water (this destroys fungi)
  • Candida likes moist, warm places, so avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing like jeans, or underwear and panty liners made from synthetic fibers
  • Avoid douching or taking baths with bubble-bath solutions, soap and bath salts, as these can upset the natural balance of the vagina
  • If you are prescribed antibiotics for any reason, ask your doctor whether you should take anti-fungal medications as a precautionary measure
  • Always wipe from front to back after going to the toilet