What is Candida Vulvovaginitis?

Candida vulvovaginitis, also known as vaginal thrush, vaginal yeast infection, and vaginal candidiasis, is a common infection of the vulva and vagina. The condition occurs when Candida, a naturally occurring fungus, overgrows and causes symptoms such as vaginal itchiness and irritation, pain during sexual intercourse, and vaginal discharge.[1]

An estimated 75 percent of women will experience vaginal thrush in their lifetime, with a further 40-45 percent experiencing recurrent episodes.[2] Most often, the condition is caused by changes in the environment of the vagina and gastrointestinal tract, which may be triggered by factors such as the use of certain medications or contraceptive devices, pregnancy, and conditions including diabetes and HIV.[1]

Vaginal thrush can be unpleasant and cause significant distress, but can often be effectively managed with treatment. This will usually involve the use of antifungal medications or skin creams.[3]

Candida vulvovaginitis symptoms

The most common symptoms of candida vulvovaginitis, or vaginal thrush, include:[1][4]

  • An itching and/or burning sensation around the vulva and vaginal opening
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain when urinating
  • Soreness, redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Vaginal discharge, which can range from watery to thick and chunky

Women experiencing the condition may not develop all of these symptoms and they can vary in their severity from case to case. Those experiencing possible symptoms Can search for the Nearest doctor to carry out a symptom assessment.

Causes of candida vulvovaginitis

Candida is a naturally occurring group of fungi found in the gastrointestinal tract and, less often, the vagina, mouth, and skin.[4] Normally, Candida is present in small amounts and causes no symptoms.

Thrush occurs when the balance of microorganisms and, consequently, the pH levels in the vagina, are disrupted and Candida multiplies, causing the symptoms described above. This overgrowth of Candida is typically triggered by changes in the environment of the gastrointestinal tract and vagina.

Risk factors

Changes in the environment of the gastrointestinal tract and vagina can occur as a result of a variety of factors, including:[1]

Antibiotics: Typically, antibiotics work by killing bacteria, including those present in the vagina. This can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and cause an overgrowth of Candida.

Contraceptives: The use of hormonal contraceptives containing estrogen, including the birth control pill, can make candida vulvovaginitis more likely. This is also true of contraceptive devices, such as vaginal sponges, diaphragms, and IUDs, though not typically the use of spermicides.

Pregnancy: Being pregnant can make candida vulvovaginitis more likely. Treating the condition in pregnant people requires a different approach to what is usual, but poses little risk to the baby.[5] Read more about infections during pregnancy »

Weakened immune system: People with a weakened immune system are more likely to develop candida vulvovaginitis. A weakened immune system can occur as a result of conditions such as HIV, as well as the use of medications, including those associated with chemotherapy, steroids, and those often prescribed following an organ transplant.

Diabetes: People with diabetes stand a higher chance of developing candida vulvovaginitis, especially if it is poorly managed. Read more about Diabetes »

Sexual activity: Candida vulvovaginitis is more likely in women who are sexually active. The condition is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but can, in some cases, be passed on to sexual partners of both sexes.

Age: Candida vulvovaginitis is more likely in post-pubescent and premenopausal women.

Diagnosing candida vulvovaginitis

Women experiencing any possible symptoms of vaginal thrush should consult a doctor for evaluation. The symptoms of the condition are similar to those of a number of others, including bacterial vaginosis, dermatitis, and trichomonas vulvovaginitis, making proper diagnosis an important step towards receiving effective treatment.[1]

In addition to visiting a doctor, the Adoctor’s conditions and symptoms can be used to carry out a symptom assessment.

A diagnosis can usually be confirmed following an examination by a doctor. The affected person may also be asked about their medical history and whether they have had the condition before.

Diagnosing recurrent or persistent infections

Vaginal thrush becomes recurrent if it is experienced four or more times per year. Roughly five to eight percent of women will develop the recurrent form of the condition.[1]

As with women experiencing symptoms for the first time, when symptoms occur, women who have already had the condition should consult a doctor, when symptoms occur, rather than attempting to self-diagnose. According to one study, only 11 percent of people who self-diagnose candida vulvovaginitis do so accurately.[6]

In addition to an examination and a discussion of the affected person’s medical history, those experiencing recurrent bouts of candida vulvovaginitis are likely to have a swab sample taken from their vagina. Recurrent episodes may be due to the presence of a less common type of the Candida fungus, one that is resistant to the types of medication that are typically prescribed.[1] By examining the vaginal discharge in a lab, doctors will be able to identify whether or not this is the case.


Treatment will typically involve the use of antifungal medication, which will usually take the form of an oral tablet and/or topical skin cream.

Following treatment, most cases of thrush will resolve in a few days. If symptoms do not disappear in this timeframe, a doctor should be consulted.

Oral medication

Two of the most commonly prescribed antifungal tablets are:

  • Fluconazole
  • Itraconazole

Fluconazole is usually available over the counter without a prescription. Side-effects are uncommon but can include headaches, diarrhea, and a rash.[1][3]

Itraconazole is typically reserved for severe cases and is generally only available with a prescription from a doctor. [7]

Possible side-effects include:[8]

Topical skin creams

Although oral medication can be more convenient, women affected by soreness or itchiness around the vagina may find that antifungal skin creams provide more immediate relief.[3]

Over-the-counter and prescription varieties are available, with most requiring only a single dose to relieve symptoms.[7] This is usually carried out using an applicator in order to allow the cream to reach the inside of the vagina, although some may also wish to apply a small amount to the skin surrounding the vagina.

Side effects, including skin irritation and itchiness, are possible but uncommon.

Good to know: Antifungal skin creams can weaken condoms and diaphragms. For around five days after their use, sexual activity should be abstained from or an alternative contraceptive method found.[3]

Treatment for recurrent infections

Recurrent infections are usually treated using the same methods as a single bout, but for longer periods of time. For skin creams, this is usually around two weeks, though the doctor will advise on exactly how long to continue use.

After this period, a method known as maintenance treatment may be employed. This involves taking one dose of the tablet or skin cream every week, usually for around six months. For most women, maintenance treatment is effective in preventing candida vulvovaginitis from recurring.[9]

Treatment during pregnancy

Pregnant women should always consult a doctor before beginning treatment for vaginal thrush during pregnancy. Common medications used to treat the condition, including fluconazole, are not appropriate for use during pregnancy. Instead, a doctor will prescribe a pregnancy-appropriate antifungal medication.[5]

Vaginal thrush is common in pregnant women due to the bodily changes pregnancy triggers. It should not be considered cause for serious alarm.

Treatment for sexual partners

Although there is a small chance of passing candida vulvovaginitis to a sexual partner, the condition is not a sexually transmitted infection and does not usually require the sexual partners of affected people to seek treatment.[1]


There are a number of practices and habits that are thought to help prevent vaginal thrush. It should be noted, however, that these practices are not medically proven to be effective and may only be useful in some cases.

Preventive methods include:[7]

  • Maintaining good hygiene: Washing the vagina with scented soaps, spermicides and other, similar products may help to alter the environmental conditions of the vagina, in turn helping Candida to thrive. Some women may find it beneficial, therefore, to wash using only water and unscented soaps.
  • Wearing loose clothing: Some women may find that wearing loose-fitting, airy clothing around their lower body is beneficial in helping to prevent candida vulvovaginitis. It is thought that the warm and moist conditions created by tight clothing can help Candida to grow.
  • Avoiding friction during sexual activity: While candida vulvovaginitis is not a sexually transmitted infection, it is thought that friction during sexual intercourse can make it more likely. Consequently, ensuring that the vagina is well lubricated may help to prevent the condition.


u003cstrongu003eIs candida vulvovaginitis contagious?u003c/strongu003e

In the majority of cases, candida vulvovaginitis is not contagious. However, in rare instances, the infection can be transferred between sexual partners, both male and female.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4754u0026amp;action=edit#fn10u0022u003e[10]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eIs candida vulvovaginitis a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?u003c/strongu003e

No, u003cstrongu003ecandida vulvovaginitis is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection.u003c/strongu003e This is despite the fact that, in rare cases, the infection can be passed between sexual partners. It is generally not necessary for the sexual partners of people with the condition to receive treatment themselves.u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4754u0026amp;action=edit#fn1u0022u003e[1]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003e

u003cstrongu003eCan men get candida vulvovaginitis?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, men can contract the same infection as that involved in candida vulvovaginitis, although in cases such as these, the condition is referred to as thrush in men, or male candidiasis. This is rare, but usually the result of having unprotected sexual intercourse with a person already affected by the condition.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eSymptoms of thrush in men include:u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4754u0026amp;action=edit#fn11u0022u003e[11]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003eu003cbru003eu003cbru003eA burning sensation, redness, and irritation around the head of the penis and behind the foreskinu003cbru003eDischarge from the penis, which is usually white with a thick or chunky textureu003cbru003eA bad smell from the penisu003cbru003eu003cbru003eMen experiencing possible symptoms of thrush should see a doctor for evaluation.

Other names for candida vulvovaginitis

  • Vaginal thrush
  • Candida vaginitis
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Vulvovaginal yeast infection
  • Thrush
  • Vulval candidiasis

  1. UpToDate. “Patient education: Vaginal yeast infection (Beyond the Basics).” October 3, 2017. Accessed December 5, 2018.

  2. CDC. “candida vulvovaginitis.” June 4, 2015. Accessed December 5, 2018.

  3. NHS Inform. “Vaginal thrush: Treatment.” June 28, 2018. Accessed December 5, 2018.

  4. MedlinePlus. “Vaginal yeast infection.” September 28, 2017. Accessed December 5, 2018.

  5. NHS. “Can thrush harm my baby during pregnancy?” February 16, 2018. Accessed December 6, 2018.

  6. NCBI. “Over-the-counter antifungal drug misuse associated with patient-diagnosed vulvovaginal candidiasis.” March, 2002. Accessed December 6, 2018.

  7. Patient. “Vaginal Thrush.” July 1, 2017. Accessed December 7, 2018.

  8. NICE. “ITRACONAZOLE.” Accessed December 7, 2018.

  9. Patient. “Treating Recurring Thrush.” July 1, 2017. Accessed December 7, 2018.

  10. MedicineNet. “Is a Yeast Infection Contagious?” October 26, 2018. Accessed December 10, 2018.

  11. NHS. “Thrush in men and women.” November 20, 2017. Accessed December 10, 2018.

**Title: What is Candida Vulvovaginitis? A Comprehensive Guide**

**Question: What‍ is Candida vulvovaginitis?**

**Answer:** Candida vulvovaginitis, also known as a yeast​ infection, is a common fungal infection that affects ⁢the vagina and vulva. ⁤It is caused by an overgrowth of‌ Candida albicans, a type of yeast that is normally present in ⁢small amounts ⁢in ⁣the ⁤vagina.

**Question: What are the symptoms of candida ⁣vulvovaginitis?**

**Answer:** Symptoms of candida vulvovaginitis can include:

* Vaginal itching, burning, and irritation

* Vulvar redness, swelling, and pain

* Vaginal discharge ‍that ⁣is ‍white, thick, and clumpy⁢ (often described as resembling cottage cheese)

* ⁣Pain during intercourse

* Painful or frequent urination

**Question: What causes candida vulvovaginitis?**

**Answer:**⁣ Candida vulvovaginitis is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida⁣ albicans yeast. This can occur due to:

* Antibiotics, which can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina

* Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy⁣ or menopause

* Weakened immune system

* Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes

* Tight-fitting clothing or ⁤underwear

* ‍Poor hygiene

**Question: How is candida​ vulvovaginitis diagnosed?**

**Answer:** Candida vulvovaginitis is typically diagnosed based on a‌ physical exam and a ⁢patient’s medical history. In some cases, ⁢your doctor may perform a vaginal swab to‍ confirm the ‍presence of Candida.

**Question: What are the treatment options​ for candida vulvovaginitis?**

**Answer:** ⁢Treatment options for candida vulvovaginitis include:

* Over-the-counter antifungal ‍creams‌ or‌ suppositories

* Prescription antifungal medications

* Boric acid suppositories

* Lifestyle ‌changes, such as⁢ avoiding ⁣tight-fitting clothing and practicing good hygiene

**Question: How can I prevent candida vulvovaginitis?**

**Answer:** While not‍ always preventable, there are certain measures you can take​ to reduce the risk of developing candida vulvovaginitis:

* Wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear

* Change underwear and pads or tampons frequently

* Avoid douching or using ⁣scented products in the vaginal area

* Treat antibiotic use with probiotics to​ restore vaginal ​flora‍ balance

* ‍Manage chronic health ‌conditions⁤ such​ as diabetes

**Additional Information:**

* Candida vulvovaginitis is a common infection that affects many women.

* It is important to seek treatment if you suspect you have a yeast infection.

* ⁣Early diagnosis and treatment can⁢ help prevent complications.

* If you experience recurrent yeast infections, talk to your doctor about the underlying cause.

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