Dr. Garavelas Athanasios Article, IVF specialist.
What causes a fungal infection and what are the symptoms? What can you do if the infection recurs? What is the treatment?
Is the cause lack of hygiene?
It is very rare that vaginal fungal infections are caused by poor hygiene. It is very important to always wash from front to back after the toilet.
How can you tell if you have a vaginal infection?
Typically, vaginal fungal infections occur through vaginal whitish, dense secretions. They are usually odourless. In less severe cases, the infection also occurs only through intense itching and burning when urinating or intercourse.- How is the diagnosis made? The gynecologist takes a smear from the back of the vagina. Observing the sample under a microscope is easy to detect the possible presence of the fungus.
How is it treated?
Vaginal fungal infections are usually treated with a topical antifungal treatment. It is administered in the form of vaginal tablets or cream to be applied inside or outside the vagina. The treatment lasts from three to seven days.
How many women are affected?
About three-quarters of the female population suffers from a vaginal infection at least once in their lifetime. The most common is infection with Candida, a fungus that is part of the natural flora of the vagina. Vaginal fungal infections are reported only when Candida predominates compared to other microorganisms, altering the fragile balance of the bacterial flora.
Is the presence of vaginal fungi stable?
Candida albicans is the most common fungus responsible for infections. It is present in a stable way in the vagina and gastrointestinal tract. Under normal circumstances it does not cause problems. It can only cause problems if its environment changes and when the immune system is very weak.
Who is at risk?
In addition to the deficiency of the immune system, there are other factors that contribute to the spread: severe stress, hormonal changes (such as pregnancy), antibiotic treatments, but also very tight underwear. We should also pay attention to the pools.
Can the fungus be transmitted through sexual contact?
Although vaginal fungus is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can also be found through sexual contact. Therefore, in case of infection it is very important that the partner is treated even if he has no symptoms.
Is Vaginal Fungal Dangerous During Pregnancy?
Because hormonal balance changes during pregnancy, fungal infections are common. In this case it is important to contact a gynecologist quickly to clear up any doubts about a possible infection. Otherwise, the newborn may be infected at birth.
What should I do if the fungus recurs?
Because the vaginal environment is naturally acidic, a good prevention is to maintain the acid balance of the bacterial flora through targeted growth of lactic acid bacteria. In addition, it is advisable to drastically reduce the consumption of sugar, because sugar contributes to the growth of fungi.