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January 15, 2021 05:00am
By Aislinn Antrim, Associate Editor
Vaginal candidiasis, also referred to as a vaginal yeast infection, is most often caused by the fungusCandida albicans. Vaginal candidiasis is very common, occurring in 75% of all women at some time in their life, and is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease.
Signs and Symptoms
The following are common symptoms associated with vaginal candidiasis:
Candida albicansis a fungus/yeast that lives naturally in balance with other organisms in the vagina, but when the balance is disrupted, the fungus can grow uncontrolled, leading to an infection. Some triggers that may upset the balance in the vagina include:
Tests and Diagnosis
Clinicians can diagnose vaginal candidiasis by assessing reported symptoms and performing a pelvic examination. Urine and vaginal discharge may also be tested. If an infection is resistant to medication or frequently recurs, a culture of the vaginal discharge may be performed.
Women can prevent vaginal candidiasis by taking the following steps:
Appropriate management of vaginal candidiasis includes maintaining proper hygiene of the vaginal area and avoiding excessive moisture by:
In addition, the treatment plan developed by the clinician should be followed accordingly, and OTC products can be taken as directed.
Treatment and Care
Patients should consult with their physician to develop an optimal treatment plan. If symptoms of the infection do not alleviate or become worse with OTC medication and proper hygiene, the physician should be informed, to plan a further course of treatment.
Homeopathic and Alternative Remedies
Alternative therapies may be used to help supplement the main course of treatment. These can include the following:
Vaginal candidiasis that is considered mild and uncomplicated and is not an individual’s first occurrence can be treated effectively using OTC medications such as vaginal antifungal creams and/or suppositories. A pharmacist should always be consulted for proper use and length of treatment. To prevent drug interactions or contraindications, patients should inform the pharmacist of all other medications they are taking.
Resources for Patients
Resources for Pharmacists