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Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections

Updated on July 17, 2013

Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infections

Pain during urination

Pain during sex

Abnormal discharge -white discharge that has no odor

Swelling, itching, redness of the vulva

Vaginal Yeast Infections

Most women have visited their healthcare provider at least once in their lifetime for a vaginal yeast infection or candida vuvlovagintis especially during the summer months. Although annoying these infections are usually easy to diagnose, are not considered to be sexually transmitted (although the partner does prophylactically receive treatment) and are easy to treat.

Common causes of vaginal yeast infections include anything that may suppress your immune system such as not eating or sleeping properly, taking antibiotics, birth control pills or steroids, having your period, using tampons, or being pregnant. Populations that are prone to yeast infections are obese patients, diabetics and patients with HIV/AIDS.

Diagnosis involves a pelvic examination by your healthcare provider. A sample of discharge will be taken, and inspected under the microscope. Other diagnostic methods are the potassium hydroxide test and/or culture of the material.

Treatment commonly involves the use of genital creams, or suppositories with antifungal agents. Oral antifungal medication may be prescribed from one to seven days. Although there are over the counter medication for vaginal yeast infections avoid self-medication and consult your health care provider since these infections can be mistaken for other infections such as urinary tract infections or you may be pregnant and therefore require other treatment.

Prevention of Vaginal Yeast Infections

Wear cotton underwear

Do not use tampons

Avoid vaginal douches

Probiotics help especially if you are taking antibiotics!

Avoid using scented sprays, fragrances, soaps

Use condoms

Keep dry and clean

If at the beach or after exercise change into dry clothes

Do not use damp towels

Complicated Vaginal Yeast Infections

1. Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections

2. Severe Vaginal Yeast Infections

3. During Pregnancy

4. Infections NOT caused by the fungus Candida albicans

5. Immunosuppression: Diabetes, HIV/AIDS

Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections

What happens if the yeast infections do not go away and you are not immune suppressed (do not have diabetes or HIV/AIDS)? What causes recurrent infections? How are they defined, diagnosed and treated?

Definition of Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections: More than 4 yeast infection episodes in one year or more than 3 episodes that are not related to taking antibiotics. The difference between a recurring infection and a resistant infection is that for a recurring infection to occur there has been a time interval in between with no infection.

Causes of Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections: The pathogen most commonly associated with vaginal yeast infections is Candida albicans. A risk factor associated therefore with recurrent infections is resistance of the pathogen to antifungal medication which is another reason why over the counter medication should be avoided since we are causing resistance to medication ourselves by not completing a treatment or not treating adequately. The cause however of recurrent infections is poorly misunderstood and diseases that cause immunodeficiency such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS should be looked into.

Diagnosis of Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections: Diagnosis involves the same tests as with simple infections namely the potassium hydroxide test, microscopic and macroscopic inspection, and cultures.

Treatment of Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections

There is no optimal or specific treatment regimen for recurrent yeast infections according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Treatment is usually empirical and depends also on other factors such as the duration of infection and the resistance of the pathogen.

The CDC suggests initial treatment that may last from 7 to 14 days followed by maintenance regimes that may last up to 6 months.

For example one treatment option may be 7–14 days of topical therapy or a 100-mg, 150-mg, or 200-mg oral dose of fluconazole every third day for a total of 3 doses followed by maintenance with oral fluconazole (i.e., 100-mg, 150-mg, or 200-mg dose) weekly for 6 months (that is also considered the first line of treatment).

Other maintenance regimes that can be used may be Clotrimazole, Itraconazole 400mg and Ketoconazole for 6 months.

The CDC does warn that 30-50% of the women undergoing treatment may have recurrences after discontinuation of the treatment after the 6 month period.

The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not advise also provided without any representations and no warranties whatsoever. The provided information should never substitute the consultation, opinion , diagnosis, and treatment options provided by a professional healthcare provider.

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