Health Advice



Finally, an approved treatment for chronic yeast infections

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

When you think of yeast, you may imagine the microorganisms that make bread dough rise (there are more than 200 billion in a packet of dry yeast). But there are other forms that live in the human body, helping your digestive and immune systems function and assisting in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from your food. Sometimes they get thrown out of balance, and when that happens vaginally, a yeast called candida causes vaginitis. This infection is common -- an estimated 1.4 million outpatient visits for vaginal candidiasis happen annually in the U.S. And sometimes, because of medications (oral and inhaled corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs), chronic health conditions (diabetes, for example) or lifestyle habits (wearing sweaty, tight gym clothes, douching), the infections become chronic -- happening three or more times a year. That is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Nearly 75% of adult women experience one yeast infection in their lifetime; approximately half experience a recurrence; and up to 9% of those women develop RVVC.

Until now, there's been no medication specifically targeting chronic candidiasis. Recently the Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever drug that treats RVVC, oteseconazole. In two studies, 93.3% and 96.1% of women with RVVC who received the treatment didn't see a recurrence during a 48-week maintenance period. But ... and there's always a but ... it's only for postmenopausal women or those who are permanently infertile, because it is embryo-fetal toxic. However, if you suffer with RVVC and meet those criteria, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of this long-awaited treatment.


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email


(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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