Yeast infections are incredibly common. In fact, as many as three out of every four women will experience one at some point. So why do so many women believe inaccurate myths about yeast infections? It's probably because yeast infections, like other gynecological problems, are often embarrassing and uncomfortable to talk about, even with your doctor. But your health is important, and you shouldn't have to put up with irritating symptoms when you don't have to. Take a look at some of the common yeast infection myths and the truth behind them.

Myth: Yeast Infections Can Be Caused by or Transmitted During Sex

Fact: Yeast infections are caused by a fungus, not a bacteria or virus, and usually they can't be transmitted from person to person like a sexually transmitted disease. You may not want to have sex when you have a yeast infection, since it can irritate the area and be uncomfortable. But you're not going to put your partner at risk if you do.

The symptoms of a yeast infection, like itchiness, discharge, and inflammation, are common symptoms of other conditions too, so if you notice them after having sex, it's easy to come to the conclusion that you caught a yeast infection from your partner. The truth is, having sex with a new partner or for the first time in a while can lead to irritation that feels like a yeast infection, but isn't. This will usually resolve on its own. There's also the possibility of an STD, which you may need to be checked for if you had unprotected sex. And there's always the possibility that you do have a yeast infection, and just happened to notice the symptoms after sex. But having sex doesn't cause yeast infections.

Myth: Yeast Infections are Permanent

Fact: Yeast infections are entirely curable, usually with products that you can easily buy over the counter. If you get a second yeast infection after treating a previous one, it's a new infection, not a flare-up of an old one.

Some women are more prone to yeast infections than others. For example, if you have uncontrolled diabetes, you may get them more frequently until you get your sugar levels under control. You may also get yeast infections more frequently if you take antibiotics frequently or if your immune system is compromised. And some women are just more prone to them than others, probably due to genetics. If you frequently battle yeast infections, it can be easy to believe that it's a permanent condition, but it isn't.

Myth: Yogurt Cures Yeast Infections

Fact: The evidence for yogurt as a cure for yeast infections is sketchy at best. Although there's some logic to the theory behind this myth, it's not a cure that you want to count on.

The reason yogurt is touted as a cure for yeast infections is because yogurt contains good bacteria – known as probiotics – that can help keep yeast at bay. You normally already have this good bacteria in your body, but when something like an antibiotic wipes it out, the yeast has free reign to multiply, and a yeast infection occurs. It seems to make sense that supplementing with the bacteria in yogurt would help get rid of a yeast infection, or even prevent one.

However, the bacteria species normally found in the vagina aren't usually the same as the ones normally found in yogurt, and most of the studies done on the effectiveness of using yogurt to treat yeast infections are methodologically flawed or show conflicting results. There just isn't any good evidence that yogurt can cure a yeast infection. Yogurt is a healthy snack and eating it can't hurt, but don't rely on it – ask your pharmacist or gynecologist to recommend an over-the-counter treatment instead.

If you think you have a yeast infection but you're not sure, or if over-the-counter treatments don't seem to work, make an appointment with your gynecologist to rule out any more serious conditions. For more information, visit websites like