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Spotlight on Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: Infection Risks When Immunity Drops

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis is a common ailment caused by the yeast Candida Albicans, a type of fungi. Typically, Candida lives in the mouth and also in small amounts on the skin and in the vagina without causing major issues.

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis is triggered by Candida yeast and can be instigated by a weakened immune system, excessive usage of broad-spectrum antibiotics, or overuse of feminine hygiene products. In the case of antibiotics, while they can kill bacteria, they fail to kill yeast. The broader the spectrum of the antibiotic, the more bacteria are attacked. Prolonged antibiotic treatment can reduce or eliminate beneficial bacteria in the vagina, weakening immunity against bacteria like Candida, thus posing a threat to vaginal health.

Other factors that may cause Vulvovaginal Candidiasis include intrauterine devices, wearing tight clothing that does not allow ventilation, and using irritating intimate cleansing products. Moreover, Candida thrives in high-sugar environments, making it more likely to occur in people with uncontrolled diabetes or those who generally consume high amounts of sugar.

Candida, which reproduces well in warm and humid conditions, can manifest as a sweat rash accompanied by a stinging sensation, under the scrotum and between the thighs in men, and under the breasts in women. The onset of the infection begins as the yeast starts to grow, sprouting filament-like branches known as hyphae. This growth forms a white net-like membrane, and minor bleeding can occur underneath the skin in severe cases.


- Itching and stinging (itching may be stronger in the early stages of infection)

- White vaginal discharge or greenish pus-like discharge

- Frequent and painful urination as the damage to the vulva increases

- Pain during intercourse and a burning sensation

- Redness or swelling of the vulva and vagina


The treatment of Candida primarily aims to eliminate the yeast growing in the vagina, even though the symptoms often appear in the vulva.

- Keep the vulva dry

- Insert antifungal medication in the form of suppositories or creams into the vagina

- Oral medication

- Apply ointment on the vulva as a supplementary treatment

If bacterial infections like Vulvovaginal Candidiasis are left untreated, they can progress into pelvic inflammatory disease, potentially leading to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and even necessitate surgery. In pregnant women, vaginitis can increase the risk of premature rupture of membranes, preterm labor, chorioamnionitis, and endometritis. Therefore, it's crucial to seek treatment promptly. If detected early, this condition can be treated within one to two weeks, so it's best to receive treatment as soon as possible.

Wearing breathable cotton underwear and using non-irritating cleansers, among other precautions, are also important. 

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