What is a vaginal fungal infection?
What are the symptoms of a vaginal fungal infection?
Is vaginal fungal infection associated with yellow vaginal discharge?
What are the characteristics of vaginal discharge in vaginal candidiasis?
If you want to know the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of vaginal fungal infections or vaginal candidiasis, read on.
What is a vaginal fungal infection?
Yeast infection or vaginal fungus or vaginal candidiasis is the most common vaginal infection in women worldwide.
It is said that at different stages of a woman’s life, three out of four women develop a vaginal fungal infection.
Many women experience this problem at least once in their lifetime. Doctors say that vaginal fungal infections, unlike many infections such as gonorrhea / syphilis / chlamydia, etc., are not STI / STD sexually transmitted infections, But there is usually a high risk of fungal infections during a woman’s first sexual activity.
There is also evidence that the infection may be transmitted to the genital area through oral sex. A fungal infection of the vagina is called vaginal candidiasis.
It is commonly caused by a yeast called Candida albicans.
It is better to mention in the introduction that medicines can effectively treat fungal infections of the vagina, but if a woman repeatedly develops a severe fungal infection at least 4 times in 12 months, she will need long-term treatment with a maintenance program.
What are the symptoms of a vaginal fungal infection?
Symptoms of a fungal infection can be mild to moderate. Some people may have very mild symptoms that they may not even notice.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Itching in the vagina and labia
- Inflammation of the vagina and labia
- Redness and swelling of the labia
- Redness and swelling of the vaginal entrance
- Vaginal pain
- Vaginal ulcers
- Red bumps are seen in the vaginal wall
- Vaginal watery discharge
- Concentrated odorless, white discharge with a cheesy appearance in the vagina and genitals
What causes a fungal infection of the vagina?
There is a fungus called Candida albicans that doctors believe is the main cause of fungal and yeast infections of the vagina. The human vagina normally contains a balanced composition of yeasts and fungi, including Candida as well as bacteria.
Some bacteria, called Lactobacillus acidophilus, are needed to prevent the fungus from growing too much in the vaginal environment. If for any reason this balance is lost, the environment is created for the overgrowth of yeast. Overgrowth of candida or infiltration of the fungus into the deeper layers of the vaginal walls can cause signs and symptoms of fungal infection.
There are factors that upset this balance in any way and can pave the way for overgrowth of fungi in the vagina, including the following:
- Taking antibiotics
- Use of antibiotics, especially if it is used for a long time arbitrarily and in high doses
kills the beneficial bacteria in the vagina, and creates an imbalance in the natural flora of the vagina, and provides an environment for the growth of anaerobic bacteria and bad vaginal bacteria, as well as fungi. Broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill a wide range of bacteria are able to kill the beneficial bacteria in the vagina.
With the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, the natural flora of the vagina changes and the environment becomes favorable for various infections in the vagina.
- Other cases include uncontrolled diabetes in women
Women who do not have controlled blood sugar are more at risk for fungal infections of the vagina than women who have controlled blood sugar. In other words, when blood sugar rises, the moist wall of the vagina provides a good environment for harmful fungi to implant.
- Another contributing factor is a weak immune system
If a woman has a weakened immune system, such as long-term treatment with immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids or anti-transplant drugs or if she has AIDS, chemotherapy, or uncontrolled diabetes, she has an immune system disorder, and is prone to experiencing fungal infections of the vagina.
- Other contributing factors include oral contraceptives and hormone therapy
As previously mentioned, changes in sex hormones in women can set the stage for fungal infections, and fungal infections are more common in women with higher estrogen, such as pregnant women and women who are taking estrogen-containing birth control pills or undergoing postmenopausal hormone therapy (HRT).
Here we have to say that the most common type of fungus and yeast and the cause of fungal infections of the vagina is Candida albicans, and fungal infections caused by other fungi can be more complex and generally require more severe and sometimes more aggressive treatments.
How are vaginal fungal infections or vaginal candidiasis diagnosed?
It is important to note that if the clinical signs and symptoms indicate a vaginal yeast infection, it may still be vaginal itching, discharge, and other symptoms from other similar conditions, including bacterial vaginosis, Trichomonas infections, and other sexually transmitted infections (STD / STI).
For diagnosis, a sample of vaginal secretions is taken and the microorganism is identified in the laboratory using direct culture and testing. Other diseases such as bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases are ruled out by examining the sample under a microscope.
We emphasize that merely positive fungus cultivation is not enough to say that the cause of the clinical symptoms of the infected woman was fungus and yeast. Comparative studies between conventional commercial forms and modern imidazole antifungal drug delivery systems:
Conventioal commercial forms
|Studies on modern systems|
Author and year of study
Drug system used
|Results of the new drug system with conventional drug form|
vaginal cream 1% and 2%
topical ointment 1%
topical solution 1%
|Shekhawat et al.2013||Nanostructured lipid carrier||The percentage of drug in the skin in the form containing lipid nanostructures was more than twice that of the commercial form.|
Single et al. 2012
|proniosomes||The peroniosomes showed a 2-fold increase in the shelf life of the drug compared to the conventional commercial drug product.|
|Hashem et al. 2011||
|Gels and solutions containing microemulsions showed a multiplicity of time compared to conventional creams.|
|aerosol and aerosol powder 2%cream and vaginal cream 2%
kit and vaginal kit 2%
topical lotion 2%
topical ointment 2%
topical powder 2%
topical solution 2%
|Liposomes||In liposomal forms, drug release was longer than usual.|
Sanap et al.
|Lipid Nanostructure (NLC)Lipid Solid Nanoparticles (SLN)||Gels containing both nanoparticle systems showed greater effect concentration than conventional drug gels.|
|Ketoconazole||topical cream 2%topical foam 2%
topical kit 2%
shampoos 1% and 2%
|PATEL et al.
|The microemulsion form showed an almost 4-fold infiltration compared to the aqueous solution form|
How is vaginal fungal infection treated?
The basis of treatment of fungal infections of the vagina is use of antifungal drugs. Usually, doctors use prescriptions that Contains topical medications. These topical medications can reduce the effect of condom diaphragms in preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases as well as preventing pregnancy.
Drugs offered as topical products for the treatment of vaginal fungal infections include clotrimazole, miconazole, and ketoconazole.
The length of treatment varies. It may take one to seven days of treatment. Topical treatment is applied directly to the affected area and is usually available without a prescription. These include creams, ointments, and suppositories inside the vagina. Your doctor may prescribe a single oral dose of fluconazole, depending on your circumstances.
Pregnant women should not take the oral drug fluconazole. In pregnant women, treatment is limited to topical cases. These drugs should be of a safe type for the mother and the fetus to be prescribed by a doctor during pregnancy.
Doctors do not recommend home and traditional treatments to cure vaginal fungal infections.
What can we do to prevent fungal infections of the vagina?
In order to reduce the risk of fungal infections of the vagina, it is better to observe the following points:
- Do not wear tight socks and pants. Use cotton underwear that is not tight. Avoid wearing underwear made of unnatural fibers such as plastic fibers.
- Do not use vaginal douches. These products kill natural and beneficial bacteria and protect the vagina.
- Avoid scented products such as scented and fragrant tampons.
- Avoid hot tubs with hot water.
- Do not wear wet clothes such as swimwear and wet training clothes for a long time.
- Do not use antibiotics in unnecessary and arbitrary cases.
When should we see a doctor for a vaginal fungal infection?
Be sure to see your doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms.
- Be sure to see your doctor if this is the first time you are experiencing symptoms of a vaginal fungal infection.
- Talk to your doctor if you experience other symptoms of a fungal infection.
- Be sure to consult your doctor if you are unsure about the diagnosis of a vaginal fungal infection.
- Be sure to consult your doctor if you have symptoms after treatment with over-the-counter creams and antifungal medications or oral medications prescribed by your doctor.
Vaginal discharge is a completely normal and physiological process, but it is better to know that vaginal discharge has normal and abnormal types, for example, in cases where you have an infection, vaginal discharge takes on an abnormal shape, consistency, color and smell.
Normal vaginal discharge is usually colorless and odorless, but abnormal discharge can be yellowish green and thick, sticky brown as well as smelly.
Yeast infections can cause abnormal vaginal discharge, but the color of the discharge will be white and thick and cheesy when only yeast causes vaginitis.
Vaginal discharge caused by fungi and bacterial infections are different. Here are some differences in discharge:
For example, in fungal and yeast infections of the vagina, these secretions are thick and white.
In vaginal discharge in bacterial infections the discharge is white or gray.
Vaginal discharge in vaginal infections caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas is yellow or green.
In malignancies such as vaginal tumors as well as cancers of the cervix and ovaries, there may be vaginal blood discharge.
Especially women who have menstrual irregularities and the usual pattern of their periods has changed and they have unusual blood and dark vaginal discharge, they should be checked immediately by a doctor.
we must say that if you have yellow-green vaginal discharge or gray vaginal discharge, you are most likely to have bacterial vaginosis / Trichomonas vaginitis, etc. Vaginal infections, which occur only due to the overgrowth of the yeast fungus, usually produce a thick, white discharge that looks like pieces of cheese in the vaginal opening.
Differences include the smell of vaginal discharge. Bacterial vaginosis usually causes a foul odor, and most women do not smell the discharge following a fungal infection.