Vaginal Yeast Infections

Yeast infection of vagina and vulva is perhaps the most common type of mycotic infections in women. Yeast infection in this localization is not only annoying. It also has a certain clinical importance as recurrent yeast infections may be related to other diseases.


The disease is caused particularly by yeast known as Candida albicans, which often affects mucous membranes and skin of human body. It occurs not only in the vagina, but also in the digestive and urological tract. Rare severe forms affect internal organs often with bad prognosis. Yeast microorganisms live in mucous membranes of healthy people, but the immune system reduces their numbers, so they pose no threat. Impaired function of the immune system increases risk of yeast infections, for example diabetes, AIDS infection, chronic use of immunosuppressive drugs, etc. Frequent antibiotic usage is also a risk factor of yeast infections because of killing mucosal bacteria and so indirectly supporting the yeasts.


Vaginal infection is usually associated with unpleasant sensations, itching, burning pain, pain during the intercourse and vaginal discharge. Yeast discharge is whitish and curdy, vaginal mucosa is flushed. The external genitalia may be also reddish or covered with whitish coating.


The disease is probable in a woman with the above-stated symptoms. A swab is usually done to confirm the presence of yeast by cultivation in a microbiological laboratory. Recurring yeast infection should be followed by at least basic examination to exclude immunodeficiency (diabetes, AIDS, etc.).


The therapy is usually focused on usage of antimycotic drugs, in this case preferably in form of local ointments and vaginal globules. If there is an underlying condition (immunodeficiency), it is necessary to solve it as well, if possible. Let us just add that antibiotics are completely ineffective against Candida and other yeasts and antibiotic usage may actually worsen the condition.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources