Vaginal Candidiasis

Vaginal candidiasis, more commonly known as a vaginal yeast infection, afflicts millions of women each year. The most common symptoms of vaginal candidiasis are itching, burning, redness and a thick, whitish discharge that some describe as looking like cottage cheese. Many ladies report a foul odor caused by their yeast infections, while others say they detect no difference from their normal bodily scent.

There are many possible causes for vaginal candidiasis, from intercourse with someone who practices poor hygiene to taking antibiotics to having a compromised immune system. If you are one of the fortunate few to have found this page and are not looking to cure a vaginal yeast infection (or if you have cured one and want to prevent a recurrence), here is how you can do your best to make your vagina an inhospitable place for candida:

  • Wear cotton underwear; it allows your vagina to breathe, which prevents moisture buildup.
  • Change out of wet bathing suits as soon as possible; again, you’re preventing unnecessary dampness in your crotch.
  • Wash your genital area with gentle, unscented products. Some fragrance ingredients can irritate the sensitive skin in this area, giving candida (and other microorganisms) a place to get a foothold.
  • After using the toilet, always wipe from front to back.
  • Encourage intimate partners to wash prior to engaging in sexual activity.
  • Ensure that any underlying conditions which can compromise your immune system, such as diabetes, are well-controlled.

Luckily, no matter what the cause, the cure for a vaginal yeast infection is going to be much the same: kill off the excess fungus (yeast) causing the problem! Most vaginal candidiasis infections can be remedied fairly easily with over-the-counter products such as Gyne-Lotrimin or Monistat. These products contain an anti-fungal component which, when it comes into contact with the candida organism, damages its outer membrane, and effectively prevents the organism from surviving and reproducing.

There are, however, more severe types of vaginal candidiasis which do not respond to treatment with over-the counter medicines. For these, there are certain types of antifungals which are taken orally, and only available by prescription. There are also several more natural remedies available, such as acidophilus pearls, yogurt and RepHresh, a gel designed to balance the pH of the vagina.

While most ladies are able to cure their yeast infection with the above-mentioned products, some women find that their yeast infection will either fail to show any improvement to begin with, or come back repeatedly, no matter how carefully they follow all of the above recommendations. For these ladies there are two considerations:

  1. You may not actually be dealing with a yeast infection! Your symptoms may be caused by bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection of the vagina, and no amount of anti-fungal products in the world will kill bacteria, as they have considerably different cellular structures. Bacterial vaginosis has similar symptoms, but not entirely the same, so please refer to my page on that affliction for help with treating it.
  2. Your yeast infection may extend beyond just the vagina. If you have a body-wide candida infection, also known as systemic or chronic candidiasis, you may be able to send your vaginal candidiasis “into remission,” so to speak, but even if you do, it will reappear days or weeks later, almost like clockwork, until you cure the underlying chronic condition. If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to look into the cures available for chronic yeast infections.

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