Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) date back to very ancient times. Egyptian medical papyri refer to some of them, namely vaginal infections and genital warts.

STDs have evolved over time; some have significantly reduced their incidence—such as syphilis or gonorrhea—, others have multiplied it due to the absence of effective therapies —this is the case of HIV, herpes and infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV)—. Others, however, show a high incidence rate due to factors such as the development and popularization of the contraceptive pill, international tourism not using condoms.

This means that practically the whole society is exposed to STDs, although preventive measures, supported by a greater and better sexual education in schools and articles like this, available on the Internet, could change the trend.

In this article, we will talk about one of the most common diseases that we treat in our service: vulvovaginitis, an inflammation of the vulva or vagina, usually accompanied by vaginal discharge, ie. candidiasis.

Candidiasis: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Candida and many other microorganisms that normally live in the vagina keep each other in balance. An alteration of this homeostasis can lead to an overgrowth.

Symptoms are obvious and uncomfortable: itching and burning in the vaginal area, discomfort during sex and whitish and thick vaginal discharge. Male partners may also have genital rashes and burning after sex.

That these symptoms often become more intense one week before the period and, conversely, subside it once it occurs.

Pregnant women, diabetics, women on contraceptives, antibiotics or corticosteroids will be more prone to candidiasis.

The diagnosis will be carried out through a culture of the secretions to determine the exact type of Candida.

If it is Candida albicans, the most common in about 90% of cases, then it will be treated with local or general antifungals, in single or lasting doses depending on whether it is episodic, chronic or recurrent. The use of probiotics will help to reinforce the saprophyte vaginal flora and to achieve an adequate vaginal pH control that prevents the excessive growth of these mycoses. The sexual partner may also be treated in order to avoid a relapse.

Other less frequent Candida species, such as Glabrata, tropicalis or Kruseii, are also more difficult to eradicate and demand second line treatments that include boric acid.

How to prevent candidiasis

• Eat more citrus fruits, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, beets, carrots, barley, garlic, oregano, coriander, rosemary, dill, sage, fennel, cardamom and anise.
• Avoid alcohol and refined sugar -present in sweets and industrial pastries-.
• Daily intimate hygiene with mild soaps and water.
• Keep the vaginal area as dry as possible – quickly change underwear or wet bathing.
• Use of cotton underwear and clothing that is not excessively tight.
• Prevent excessive stress with yoga or meditation.
• Use of condoms.

We hope this article has been useful for you. You will find further information at the website of the Unidad de la Mujer. You can also contact us at the number (+34) 917 303 673

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