A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva — the tissues at the vaginal opening. It's a type of vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina.

Vaginal yeast infection (also called vaginal candidiasis) affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetimes. Many women experience at least two episodes.

Although a vaginal yeast infection isn't considered a sexually transmitted infection, you can spread the fungus through mouth to genital contact. Medications can effectively treat vaginal yeast infections. If you have recurrent yeast infections — four or more within a year — you may need a longer treatment course and a maintenance plan.

Sept. 18, 2015