What is it?
Vaginal candidiasis refers to fungal infection of the vagina.
Symptoms: itching, vaginal discharge, usually white-may be scanty and watery or profuse and thick. The vulva may be red and swollen and there may be small fissures or cracks.
Causes: The Candida albicans fungus, Trigger factors include: Pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, stress, hypothyroidism, anaemia and oral contraceptives.
Possible complications: recurrence
Treatment in the home: Scrupulous personal hygiene, don’t wear nylon underclothes. Unlike cotton wool nylon does not ‘breath’ and therefore offers a warm, moist breeding area for infection.
When to consult a doctor: As soon as symptoms appear.
What the doctor may do: A gynaecological examination to confirm diagnosis and to rule out all other causes of vaginal discharge which may mimic vaginal candidiasis. Prescribe topical antifungal products in the form of pessaries, tablets or creams to be inserted deep into the vagina. Prescribe oral treatment to supplement the topical therapy if the infection is severe or recurrence is a problem.