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Vaginal Candidiasis (Vaginal Yeast Infection)

Candidiasis is a fungal infection due to any types of Candida (a type of yeast). When it affects the vagina, it is commonly called a yeast infection.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

About Genital Candidiasis

Genital / vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is also sometimes called a "yeast infection." It is a common infection that occurs when there is overgrowth of the yeast called Candida.

Candida is always present in and on the body in small amounts. However, when an imbalance occurs, such as when the normal acidity of the vagina changes or when hormonal balance changes, Candida can multiply. When that happens, symptoms of candidiasis may appear.

Women with VVC usually experience genital itching, burning, and sometimes a "cottage cheese-like" vaginal discharge. Men with genital candidiasis may experience an itchy rash on the penis. The symptoms of VVC are similar to those of many other genital infections, so it is important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms...Read more about Genital Candidiasis Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Oral versus intra‐vaginal imidazole and triazole anti‐fungal treatment of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis (thrush)

Anti‐fungals are available for oral and intra‐vaginal treatment of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis (thrush). The primary objective of this review was to assess the relative effectiveness of oral versus intra‐vaginal anti‐fungals for the treatment of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis. The secondary objectives of the review were to assess the cost‐effectiveness, safety and patient preference of oral versus intra‐vaginal anti‐fungals. No statistically significant differences were observed in clinical cure rates of anti‐fungals administered by the oral and intra‐vaginal routes for the treatment of uncomplicated vaginal candidiasis. No definitive conclusion can be made regarding the relative safety of oral and intra‐vaginal anti‐fungals for uncomplicated vaginal candidiasis. The decision to prescribe or recommend the purchase of an anti‐fungal for oral or intra‐vaginal administration should take into consideration: safety, cost and treatment preference. Unless there is a previous history of adverse reaction to one route of administration or contraindications, women who are purchasing their own treatment should be given full information about the characteristics and costs of treatment to make their own decision. If health services are paying the treatment cost, decision‐makers should consider whether the higher cost of some oral anti‐fungals is worth the gain in convenience, if this is the patient's preference.

Topical treatment for vaginal candidiasis (thrush) in pregnancy

Imidazoles are best but pregnant women may need longer (7 not 4 day) courses. Thrush is a common vaginal infection in pregnancy causing itching and soreness. There is no evidence that this yeast infection harms the baby. Antifungal creams are effective. Imidazoles (such as clotrimazole) are more effective than older treatments such as nystatin and hydrargaphen. Longer courses (7 days) cured more than 90% of women whereas standard (4 day) courses only cured about half the cases.

Miconazole versus miconazole plus living preparation of lactobacillus for vulvovaginal candidiasis: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Cui L, Wang C, Fu J, Xie LX, Hu LN.  Miconazole versus miconazole plus living preparation of lactobacillus for vulvovaginal candidiasis: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2010; 10(1): 89-93

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Summaries for consumers

Oral versus intra‐vaginal imidazole and triazole anti‐fungal treatment of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis (thrush)

Anti‐fungals are available for oral and intra‐vaginal treatment of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis (thrush). The primary objective of this review was to assess the relative effectiveness of oral versus intra‐vaginal anti‐fungals for the treatment of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis. The secondary objectives of the review were to assess the cost‐effectiveness, safety and patient preference of oral versus intra‐vaginal anti‐fungals. No statistically significant differences were observed in clinical cure rates of anti‐fungals administered by the oral and intra‐vaginal routes for the treatment of uncomplicated vaginal candidiasis. No definitive conclusion can be made regarding the relative safety of oral and intra‐vaginal anti‐fungals for uncomplicated vaginal candidiasis. The decision to prescribe or recommend the purchase of an anti‐fungal for oral or intra‐vaginal administration should take into consideration: safety, cost and treatment preference. Unless there is a previous history of adverse reaction to one route of administration or contraindications, women who are purchasing their own treatment should be given full information about the characteristics and costs of treatment to make their own decision. If health services are paying the treatment cost, decision‐makers should consider whether the higher cost of some oral anti‐fungals is worth the gain in convenience, if this is the patient's preference.

Topical treatment for vaginal candidiasis (thrush) in pregnancy

Imidazoles are best but pregnant women may need longer (7 not 4 day) courses. Thrush is a common vaginal infection in pregnancy causing itching and soreness. There is no evidence that this yeast infection harms the baby. Antifungal creams are effective. Imidazoles (such as clotrimazole) are more effective than older treatments such as nystatin and hydrargaphen. Longer courses (7 days) cured more than 90% of women whereas standard (4 day) courses only cured about half the cases.

Interventions for the prevention and management of vaginal thrush in HIV positive women

Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) / thrush is one of the most common fungal infections and recurs frequently in women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Even though rarely or never resulting in systemic fungal infection or mortality, interventions for prevention and treatment of this condition is an essential part of maintaining the quality of life of such individuals.This review was aimed at evaluating such interventions.

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More about Vaginal Candidiasis

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Also called: Vulvovaginal candidiasis, Vulvovaginal yeast infection, Vaginal candidosis, Genital candidiasis, VVC

See Also: Trichomoniasis, Bacterial Vaginosis

Other terms to know:
Fungal Infections

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