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Vaginal Thrush (candida)

January 3, 2011

Thrush – is one of the more common vaginal infections

There are a number of microorganisms that may cause vaginal infection and several may co-exist.

  • Candida.

Candida vulvovaginitis - vaginal thrush and vulval thrush infection. Note the typical picture appearance like milk-curds.

These are yeast organisms that are found in the vagina in 25% of women usually without any symptoms. The most common species of candida to be found in the vagina is Candida albicans which is an organism that lives in the bowel and can easily be transferred from back to front passage. Symptoms occur when there is an excess of the yeast. High blood sugar levels (diabetes mellitus), pregnancy, antibiotics and steroid administration tend to increase the incidence of candidiasis. An acidic environment encourages the growth of the candida.

Symptoms of vaginal candida.

Typically, acute candida vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) is accompanied by symptoms of intense irritation and at times pain. vaginal candida is colloquially known as thrush. The discharge is thick and white (described as milk curds). The skin of the vulva surrounding the vaginal entrance may be acutely red.

Recurrent vaginal thrush (vaginal candida). How can this be prevented?

About one per cent of women will have more than six episodes of vaginal candida a year.

Swab tests should be taken to confirm that you really are having bouts of thrush. Whilst most people have heard of thrush, relatively few know about bacterial vaginosis and this is more common than thrush.

It is prudent to exclude underlying illness and to correct other causes of vaginal discharge such as cervical ectropion (erosion cervical erosion).

Preventative measures include

  • Avoiding clothes that keep the genital area moist.
  • Natural fibres such as cotton are preferable to nylon.
  • Underclothes should be thoroughly rinsed.
  • Daily bathing/showering may be helpful
  • but frequent vaginal douching should be avoided as this may remove protective organisms.
  • Irritant soaps and bubble baths should be avoided.
  • Shampoos should not be used in the bath.
  • Use a soft clean towel and dab rather than rub.
  • Rough flannels should not be used.
  • Wiping the anal area from front to back may help to prevent transfer of candida to the vagina; soft toilet paper should be used.

One of the orally active agents may eliminate the reservoir of candida in the bowel although this may subsequently recur.

The objective is to prevent recurrence.

  • As antibiotics may be associated with acute episodes, those particularly at risk should re quest treatment for candida at the same time.
  • The male partner should be offered local or oral treatment.
  • Some women will require regular preventative treatment usually administered after each period.

Related Medical Abstracts:

LEARN MORE Vulvodynia (also called “vestibulodynia”)
Bacterial Vaginosis
Common Vaginal Infections
Vaginal Discharge
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