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Vaginal Yeast Infections - Cause

A vaginal yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast organisms that normally live in small numbers in the vagina. Things that may encourage an excess growth of vaginal yeast include:

  • Using antibiotics.
  • Having high estrogen levels (hyperestrogenemia), such as during pregnancy, hormone therapy (HT or ET) use, high-dose birth control pill use, and the menstrual cycle.
  • Having diabetes, especially if your blood sugars are not well controlled and tend to be high.
  • Having an impaired immune system.
  • Using corticosteroids, such as prednisone.
  • Being overweight.

Most yeast infections involve Candida albicans (C. albicans), a yeast that can be treated effectively with standard yeast infection medicine. Recurrent vaginal yeast infections tend to involve non–C. albicans types of yeast, which are more resistant to the standard treatments for C. albicans yeast infections.

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    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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