Vaginal candidiasis is the first thing women usually think about when they talk about vaginitis or yeast infections. Candidiasis is caused by a fungal infection defined by overgrowth of Candida Albicans. Candida normally populates the vagina, mouth and digestive tract. In normal situations, “protective microorganisms” also known as normal vaginal flora maintain an acid PH that stops the growth of harmful bacteria. Candidiasis occurs when your immunity is low and allows Candida to overgrow the normal vaginal flora that keeps you healthy. The candida saprophytic bacterial flora ( that can be found normally in your vagina) transforms into a harmful flora.
At women the candida infection can manifest itself with a wide range of symptoms:
- Intense pruritus (itching)
- Dysuria ( burning sensation during urination)
- Pain during intercourse
- White, cheesy discharges
- Redness and inflammation of labia minora
These symptoms get worse before menstruation.
At men, the mycotic infection causes:
- Intense pruritus
- Swelling and inflammation of the tip of the penis
- White, cheesy deposits on the glans ( the distal end of the penis)
- Small sores on the glans
The white discharge can extend to the perineum, to the groin area ( the junction of the torso with the legs) causing the skin in those areas to become inflamed. In many situations candida can be the cause of cystitis and urethritis.
Candida can be sexually transmitted and even though the partner does not show symptoms of an candida infection the treatment must be taken by both partners to prevent the risk of reinfection. During treatment sexual intercourse must be avoided ( protected intercourse also).
- A recent antibiotic use. For example , during a antibiotic treatment for a certain infection, the normal saprophytic flora that keeps you healthy is destroyed by the antibiotics. Therefore the bacteria that were kept under control by the “good flora” can overgrow and cause the infection.
- Diabetes, unwell managed with high glucose levels in the blood stream and urine favors infections.
- Pregnancy and sudden changes in hormone levels.
- The use of oral contraceptives
- Immune system disorders
- Endocrine and thyroid disorders
- Corticotherapy (use of corticosteroids)
Candidiasis is usually treated by intravaginal administration of certain drugs. The dug can be found in the from of creams and ovules. In moast cases the oral administration is also needed.
Clotrimazole used as cream ( daily application for 7 days , in some cases for 14 days) or ovules ( one ovule per day for 7 days, or 2 ovules per day for 3 days).
Miconazole used as cream (daily for 7 days) or as ovules ( one each day for 5-7 days).
Ketokonazole oral administration ( 1 pill per day for 5 days, with the advantage of Candida elimination from the digestive tract also), or used as ovules ( one ovule per day for 5 days)
Nystatin used as ovules or pills (one pill or ovule per day for 7-14 days).
The treatment must be done simultaneously for both sexual partners!
Ways to prevent Candidiasis
- Wear loose clothing and underwear made from cotton or silk, avoid synthetic underwear
- Avoid wearing tight pants
- Do not use a vaginal irrigator (it destroys the saprophytic flora)
- Limit the use of intimate deodorants
- Do not use absorbents when you do not need them
- Change your wet clothes as often as you can ( especially your bathing suit)
- Avoid very hot baths
- Wash your underwear at 90 degrees C
- Adopt a balanced diet
- Eat yogurt and avoid bread and bakery products
- If you have diabetes, maintain good glycemia levels.