Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Select An Article

Yeast Infections: Common Causes

Font Size

Yeast infections are very common: three out of four women have at least one during their lives. What causes vaginal yeast infections? Candida yeast normally live in the vagina. But certain conditions set up an ideal environment for the yeast to "overgrow" out of balance and cause a yeast infection.

What Puts You at Risk for a Yeast Infection?

  • Antibiotics. Taking antibiotics is one of the most common causes of a vaginal yeast infection. Antibiotics and some other medications change the level of bacteria and other organisms in the vagina -- such as the bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus, which normally helps keep yeast cells under control. Medications can also change vagina's acidity, called the "pH balance," allowing yeast to overgrow.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women have high levels of estrogen, which can cause a yeast infection during pregnancy.
  • Other changes in hormone levels. Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or birth control pills changes the balance of hormones in the body, especially estrogen and progesterone. Just as in pregnancy, higher estrogen levels can cause yeast infections. Some women find they're more likely to get yeast infections at specific times in their menstrual cycles.
  • Diabetes. Poorly managed diabetes -- letting blood sugar levels get too high -- can lead to yeast infections. The yeast flourish on excess glucose in the body.
  • A weakened immune system. Having a condition that weakens the immune system, such as HIV or AIDS, can prevent the body from fighting off a yeast infection. Some women find that being overly stressed or having a cold or flu, which already taxes the immune system, can raise their risk of a yeast infection.
  • Douching upsets the natural balance of yeast and bacteria that live in the vagina and kills off some of the healthy bacteria that normally prevent yeast from overgrowing.

Having an occasional yeast infection is an uncomfortable, though rarely serious, problem. But see your doctor if you have frequent, repeat vaginal yeast infections, which may be an indication of another underlying infection.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on September 29, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror