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Vaginal candida (yeast infection)

Vaginal yeast infection (so called “vaginal candida”, “vaginal candidiasis”) is caused by fungus Candida albicans. This infection is common in women. According to surveys, 3 out of 4 women will experience vaginal candida at one point in their life. Healthy vagina always contains certain amount of bacteria and yeast cells. Several factors like stress, medications, hormonal diseases and infections could change vaginal bacterial balance and cause activation of yeast cells (multiplication and spreading). Vaginal candida causes inflammation, irritation, itching and specific vaginal discharge (white cottage-like discharge).

Sometimes vaginal yeast infection can be spread through oral and genital contacts or during intercourse. But vaginal candida is not identified as sexually transmitted disease.

Vaginal candida – causes and risk factors

It was already mentioned that vaginal yeast infection is triggered by specific fungus Candida albicans which exists in the vagina in small amounts. In healthy vagina the bacteria Lactobacillus creates the special normal environment that does not encourage yeast overgrowth, but if fungus becomes dominant, it is the start of disease. Important point is why suddenly this fungus becomes dominant and causes the disease.

Vaginal candida

There are several factors which can stimulate (activate) candida multiplication:

  • Pregnancy,
  • Long-term use of antibiotics and corticosteroids,
  • Hormonal contraception (mainly birth control pills) and contraceptive devices,
  • Diabetes (not properly treated),
  • Increased sugar consumption,
  • Weak immune system,
  • Hormonal disturbances,
  • Stress,
  • Sleeping disorders and lack of sleep.

Vaginal candida – symptoms

Vaginal yeast infection always triggers several disturbing symptoms including the following:

  • Vaginal itching (often severe on-going itching),
  • Irritation of vagina and vulva,
  • Vaginal sore or pain,
  • Vaginal specific white thick odorless cottage cheese discharge,
  • Vaginal burning sensations,
  • Vaginal rash,
  • Swollen vagina,
  • Pain and burning sensation during urination,
  • Discomfort or pain during intercourse.

Vaginal candida – diagnosis

Vaginal candida can be identified easily by qualified medical staff. Pelvic exam and laboratory tests are essential.

Vaginal candida – treatment

Vaginal yeast infection can be treated medically or with some effective natural remedies.

Treatment for each woman should be provided by qualified doctor. It is usually few days treatment with anti-fungal creams, ointments, tablets or suppositories.

Common anti-fungal medications include butoconazole (Gynazole), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Lotrimin), Monistat, terconazole (Terazol) and fluconazole (Diflucan).

Treatment follow up is very important for recurrence prevention.

Vaginal candida – prevention

Avoid tight cloths (pants, pantyhose, tights, leggings);

Always wear cotton underwear and avoid synthetic intimate cloths;

Include yogurt in daily diet or take supplements with lactobacillus;

Avoid being in wet clothing;

Wash underwear properly in hot water (high temperature);

Exclude vaginal douching;

Avoid feminine perfumed deodorants or scented tampons or smelling menstrual pads.

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