Vaginal yeast infection

Vaginal yeast infection is an inflammatory disorder of the vaginal and vulvar mucous membranes caused by the fungus Candida. It is commonly known as «vaginal thrush».

These yeast-like organisms are present both in the environment and the human body. The causative agent, which is most frequently causes the pathology, is Candida albicans. The fungus is found on human mucous membranes since his birth through mother-to-child transmission. However this microorganism is referred to as conditionally pathogenic and it causes vaginal yeast infection only under the influence of certain risk factors.

Causes of the disorder

The fungus gets into the female reproductive system by several ways:

  • Through mother-to-child transmission during a natural childbirth;
  • Through the intestine;
  • After a sexual intercourse with the infected partner;
  • Through the contact with everyday objects.

There are exogenous and endogenous factors leading to the reduces body resistance, active fungal propagation and development of the infection.

Exogenous factors:

  • Environmental temperature;
  • High humidity;
  • Occupational hazards.

Endogenous factors:

  1. Decrease in immunity due to excessive heat loss;
  2. Long-term antibiotic use;
  3. Diabetes;
  4. Immunodeficiency disorders;
  5. Hypovitaminosis and avitaminosis;
  6. Gastrointestinal tract disorders;
  7. Infections of the urogenital tract;
  8. Pelvic blood congestive phenomenon;
  9. Use of glucocorticoids;
  10. Frequent and spontaneous vaginal douche;
  11. Hormonal imbalance and the use of oral contraceptives;
  12. Obesity;
  13. Any chronic disorders.

When the resistance of the body is significantly reduced, vaginal fungal infection may be accompanied by urogenital tract disorders (urethritis or cystitis), imbalance of the intestine flora (dysbacteriosis) and lung disorders (bronchitis and atypical pneumonia).

Clinical presentation

Vaginal yeast infection in women is manifested as a typical inflammation of the urogenital tract. Only laboratory tests can distinguish a vaginal thrush from other disorder caused by a conditionally pathogenic flora.

The main symptoms of the vaginal yeast infection:

  • A white discharge coating the vaginal walls of a cheesy-like structure;
  • Pain during and after a sexual intercourse;
  • Pain during urination;
  • Itching (intolerable) in the genital region;
  • Foul-smelling discharge;
  • Burning;
  • General symptoms of inflammation (edema and redness).

Yeast infection may also affect men, so always remember that this disorder is transmitted through a sexual intercourse as well.

Male yeast infection symptoms:

  • Rash on the glans penis and on the foreskin;
  • Pain during sex;
  • Pain during the urination;
  • Burning and itching sensations of the glans penis;
  • Edema and hyperemia;
  • White spots on the glans penis alternating with redness.

Typical type of the vaginal yeast infection:

  1. Uncomplicated candidiasis without decrease in immunity (or candidal carriage). The disorder is characterized by insignificant clinical manifestations and occurs not more than 3 times a year. The main reasons of the disorder are the influence of exogenous factors. Local symptomatic therapy is an adequate treatment for the vaginal yeast infection.
  2. Uncomplicated candidiasis without decrease in immunity. The symptoms of this type of the vaginal yeast infection relate to endogenous factors. The clinical presentation completely corresponds to the full-scale clinical picture of the pathology. This type of the disorder has a tendency for chronization and recurrent vaginal yeast infection. The treatment in this case is oriented towards the mechanism of pathology development. Local therapy may relieve the symptoms but it does not cure the disease.
  3. Complicated candidiasis. This is a chronic disorder and is accompanied by other urogenital tract pathologies caused by the conditionally pathogenic flora or by the agents causing sexually transmitted infections. This disorder requires a complex therapy to boost the immune system and combat the pathology.

Diagnosis of the vaginal yeast infection

If you found any signs of the vaginal yeast infection, immediately visit a doctor as this disorder is often accompanied by other serious urogenital tract diseases. A vaginal discharge sample wet mount is used for laboratory tests. A cotton swab is used to obtain a smear.

Diagnostic methods:

  • Microscopic. The presence of the fungus Candida is detected. This is the most simple and precise technique for detecting the causes of vaginal inflammation.
  • Inoculation of culture media. The main benefit of this method is that it helps not only to detect yeast infection on vulvar lips and vagina but to detect the coexisting pathogenic flora. This method is very important because it enables to detect Candida albicans and identify its amount in comparison with other microorganisms.
  • Antibiotic susceptibility testing. As a vaginal yeast infection requires the use of antimicrobials, determination to which antibiotics the fungus is resistant will make the therapy more effective.

Therapy of the vulvovaginal candidiasis

Local treatment includes the use of antibiotics (Nystatinum) and imadazol derivatives (clotrimazol, ketoconazol). The therapy is aimed at inhibiting the growth of microorganisms in the vagina.

For topical treatment the following medications are used:

  •  special creams;
  • vaginal anti-fungal suppositories;
  • vaginal tablets.

A systematic treatment of the vaginal yeast infection should satisfy two conditions:

  • have a hight activity against the causative agent;
  • should not have any side effects.

Triazole derivatives (Fluconazolum, Intraconazolum) are also used to treat vaginal yeast infection. These medications are rapidly absorbed, virtually do not have any contraindications and side effects.

To ensure complete recovery, a patient should undergo examination for detection of the causing agent. During 3 months a patient should be examined 3 times until no clinical signs or symptoms are present.

Timely treatment vastly improves the outcome and helps to prevent complications and propagation of the infection. If vaginal yeast infection was diagnosed, both partners should be examined to avoid further infections.


Proper diet plays a great role in eliminating the causes of the vaginal yeast infection. It is recommended to restrict glucose and pastries. The diet should exclude starchy foods. Temporarily, a patient should stop consuming or restrict caffeine: tea, coffee, chocolate, cola. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Foods that will help to restore the vaginal and intestinal flora are recommended:

  1. butter milk;
  2. farmer cheese;
  3. yogurts.

To prevent the vaginal yeast disorder, it is very important to:

  • practice proper hygiene;
  • boost immunity;
  • examine gastrointestinal tract;
  • test blood sugar level (to diagnose latent diabetes mellitus);
  • safe sex with one partner.

Though vaginal thrush is not dangerous, often it becomes a marker for another serious disorder. For this reason, if you noticed the symptoms of the disease, immediately visit the gynecologist and undergo a thorough examination.