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This article was written by Marisa Cohen and provided by our partners at Prevention.
What exactly is a vaginal yeast infection? Yeast live in the vagina all the time in small, harmless numbers. But when these fungi grow out of control, the resulting itchiness, burning, and redness are extremely uncomfortable. In some cases, a thick, white, odorless discharge, resembling cottage cheese, also appears. Lactobacillus bacteria (a healthy type) normally keep the vagina's pH and yeast levels in check.
But the balance can be tipped by antibiotics, corticosteroids, uncontrolled diabetes, or raised estrogen levels from birth control or pregnancy. Yet, in many cases, there's no easily identified culprit for the pesty yeast infection. (Looking for answers to embarrassing health questions? Prevention has you covered.)
Here's what's new, what's natural, and what's tried-and-true in the battle to beat vaginal yeast infections: