Vaginal Candidiasis\r\n\r\nBy Dr Lim Lei Jun\r\n\r\nConsultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist\r\n\r\nMBBS (Manipal, India)\r\n\r\nMRCOG (UK)\r\n\r\nSunway Medical Centre\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n1.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 What is vaginal candidiasis?\r\n\r\nVaginal candidiasis is a common vaginal infection. It is more common in pregnancy. It is also known as monilial vaginitis , yeast infection or thrush. It is caused by a kind of fungus in the Candida family, most commonly Candidia albicans.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n2.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 How did I get candidiasis?\r\n\r\nWe all carry the fungus on and in our bodies. It is a commensal, which means it is a normal part of our digestive system as well as in the vagina. Usually, it lives harmlessly in the vagina because good bacteria like acidophilus keep it in check. Therefore, one won\u2019t know if one is carrying it.\r\n\r\nCandida only becomes a problem when there is an imbalance between the fungus and the bacteria that live in our bodies.\r\n\r\nYou\u2019re more likely to get vaginal candidasis if\r\n\r\n\tYou\u2019re pregnant. During pregnancy, the vagina is rich in a sugar called glycogen whish help candida thrive.\r\n\tYou wear tight or synthetic clothing, such as tights and nylon underwear. These create the warmth and lack of air that encourage candida to flourish.\r\n\tYou use perfumed bubble bath or scented panty liners that may cause irritation.\r\n\tYou\u2019ve taken antibiotics. They can affect the balance of good and bad micro-organisms in your gut.\r\n\tYou\u2019ve diabetes or gestational diabetes which isn\u2019t well controlled.\r\n\r\nAlthough vaginal candidiasis isn\u2019t defined as a sexually transmitted disease, you can develop it after you\u2019ve had sex with someone who is infected.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n3.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 How will I know if I have vaginal candidiasis?\r\n\r\nIt is normal to have more vaginal discharge when you are pregnant. A healthy vaginal discharge is thin and milky in colour. However, you may have vaginal candidiasis if\r\n\r\n\tItchiness, irritation, soreness, burning and redness in the vagina and labia. Sometimes, there may be swelling too.\r\n\tVaginal discharge that is odorless, often thick, white, creamy or cottage- cheesy.\r\n\tDiscomfort or pain during sex.\r\n\tBurning sensation during urination, especially when urine comes in contact with the irritated genitals.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n4.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 What should I do if I think I have vaginal candidiasis?\r\n\r\nIf you think you have an infection, it is important that you seek advice from your doctor. Do not suffer in silence. Your doctor may take a look at the area around the vagina to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude other problems that may be causing your symptoms. Sometimes, a vaginal swab may be taken and sent for testing in the laboratory.\r\n\r\nYour doctor may prescribe antifungal pessaries and creams that are suitable for your stage of pregnancy. You may need a full 5-7 days course of treatment to clear the infection properly. It is preferably to insert pessaries at bedtime so it won\u2019t leak out. You may be given an applicator for inserting them into vagina, take care not to put pressure on your cervix. You may prefer to gently put the pessary in place using your fingers. It is also helpful to apply antifungal cream to the area just outside of your vagina.\r\n\r\nIt may take a few days of treatment before you begin to feel some relief.\u00a0 Meanwhile, you can soothe the itching with an ice pack or by soaking in a cool bath for ten minutes.\r\n\r\nIf you find the medication irritating or it doesn\u2019t seem to be working, let your doctor know. Your doctor may switch you to another topical drug.\r\n\r\nVaginal candidiasis may be difficult to clear up during pregnancy. Do not take oral antifungal treatment some of the medication may not be safe during pregnancy.\r\n\r\nAlthough antifungal medication is available over the counter, it is not a good idea to treat yourself without seeing a doctor. Your symptoms may be caused by other problems, such as sexually transmitted infections instead of or along with candidiasis. Studies show that the vast majority of women who treated themselves for presumed yeast infection missed the real cause. As a result, they often delay getting proper treatment.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n5.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Will vaginal candidiasis affect my baby?\r\n\r\nNo, a yeast infection won\u2019t hurt or affect your developing baby. If you have an infection when you go into labour, there is small chance that your baby will catch the infection as he\/she passes through your vagina on the way into the world.\r\n\r\nIf you newborn baby has thrush, you will see white patches on the sides and roof of the mouth and sometimes on the tongue. This condition isn\u2019t serious and easily treated. Babies can get thrush even if you don\u2019t have a yeast infection.\r\n\r\nYou may find thrush comes and goes while you\u2019re pregnant. Although it may take a while to clear up and it is a bit of a nuisance, it is not a terrible disease and you should not be too worried about it.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n6.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 How can I reduce my chances of getting a vaginal candidiasis?\r\n\r\nIt is important to keep your genital area dry and your vaginal flora in balance. Some of the following suggestions might be helpful:\r\n\r\n\tWear cotton underwear, loose trousers or a skirt.\r\n\tAvoid bubble baths, perfumed soaps, scented panty-liners, scented laundry detergent and feminine hygiene sprays. It is not clear if these contribute to yeast infection, they can cause bothersome genital irritation so are best avoided.\r\n\tTry sleeping without underwear at night to allow air to get to your genital area. A night gown without underwear allows more air circulation than pajama bottoms.\r\n\tWipe your bottom from front to back after you\u2019ve been to the toilet.\r\n\tClean your genital area gently with warm water. Never douche.\r\n\tEat yogurt that contains a live culture of Lactobacillus acidophilus, which can theoretically help maintain the proper bacterial balance in your gut and vagina.\r\n\tTake probiotics which is rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus, which can be helpful in preventing troublesome yeast infection.