Helena Corleta, MD., Obstretics & Gynecology Specialist. General Surgery Specialist. Ph.D. in Human Reproduction by Ludwig Maximilian University-Germany.

Alternative names:

Thrush, vaginal yeast infection

Vaginal candidiasis

Also known as vaginal moniliasis. Candida is a fungus usually present in the gastrointestinal tract and perianal region. It grows well in the vagina’s acid environment and is able to colonize it. The control of its growth depends on the presence of other microorganisms in the normal vaginal flora. Many times, it appears when an imbalance occurs among the inhabitants of the normal vaginal flora. The organism’s resistance decreases due to the use of wide-spectrum antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, infections, diseases that cause immune deficiency as AIDS, excessive carbohydrate intake, or use of some medications, such as oral contraceptives and corticoids.

Candidiasis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD); however, a sexual partner may experience symptoms like itching or penile irritation. The most common symptoms in women are thick discharge resembling milk cream, as a rule accompanied by itching and intensive irritation of the vagina and vulva that may become worse at the menstruation period and with sexual intercourse.

Clinical examination and the performance of a direct vaginal discharge test in saline solution or using 10% potassium hydroxide reveal the fungus’s presence.

Treatment includes the use of antifungal agents administered in vaginal creams or ovules, or orally.

Prevention highlights proper hygiene and the use of cotton underwear, avoiding heat and moisture in the genital area.

Bacterial vaginosis

Also known as non-specific vaginitis, it is the most common cause of vaginitis. It isn’t considered as an STD, since it’s been noted in non-sexually active young women and nuns. It’s caused by a change in the normal vaginal flora, with a decrease in the concentration of lactobacilli and prevalence of a bacterial species over the others, chiefly Gardnerella vaginalis. A grayish-whitish vaginal discharge with a fishy odor is the characteristic symptom. Vulvar itching and irritation are rare. The diagnosis is achieved by direct exam with identification of cells called clue cells and the release of the typical odor in the amine test. Treatment is conducted with the use of specific vaginal creams.