Yeast Infection

Yeast infection or vaginal thrush, also known by the name of vulvovaginal candidiasis by healthcare professionals, is, in fact, the inflammation of the vaginal region caused by the fungus from the genus candida. Being one of the most common causes of vaginitis in the US, this condition is experienced by as many as 75% of women of childbearing age, with approximately 5% of women experiencing recurrent episodes.1

Although the symptoms of yeast infection are similar to those of sexually transmitted disease and some of the risk factors for these conditions are identical, yeast infection is not an STD. Therefore no risk of transmitting a disease to the male partner exists and no treatment for asymptomatic partner is required. Moreover, the fungus causing the disease, most commonly candida albicans species, is present in approximately 50% of healthy asymptomatic women.1

Yeast and vaginal flora

Vagina contains numerous microorganisms that play an important role in maintaining vaginal pH and protecting vaginal lining from colonization by harmful organisms. In healthy women, most bacteria colonizing the vagina belong to the genus lactobacillus (lactic bacteria), but low quantities of other bacteria and fungi species may also be present.2 If, for some reason, the number of lactic bacteria decreases, space for growth of other organisms becomes available. Overgrowth of bacterial and fungal colonies, following the decrease in the lactic bacteria concentration, causes the symptoms of bacterial vaginitis or vulvovaginal candidiasis to appear.

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