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Category: Gynecology

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Vaginitis overview

Published: July 16, 2009. Updated: August 09, 2009

Vaginitis is an infection of the vagina usually caused by a fungus. 90 percent of these infections are caused by Candida albicans.. Women who have diabetes may develop vaginitis more often than women who do not have diabetes. Please see candidiasis for more information.

Symptoms and diagnosis

A woman with this condition may have itching or burning and may notice a discharge.

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Dypareunia
  • Abnormal discharge

Findings include:

  • Erythema of vulva and/or vagina
  • Swelling of labia minora
  • Vaginal thrush
  • Normal pH
  • Hyphae/blastospores on microscopy
  • Positive fungal culture

Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis

It is not known why some women experience recurrent infections. Chronic vulvovaginal candidiasis is term denoting more than four episodes a year. Several theories exist as to why this happens in some women. One theory proposes that re-infection of the vagina occurs from an intestinal reservoir, another theory assumes that small numbers of the organism remain in the vagina. The sexual transmission theory views an untreated partner as the source of the reinfection.


Candidiasis should be treated with antifungal medication. If indicated, an underlying reason should be looked for. Following the health tips at vulvovaginal health can help prevent vaginal candidiasis. Local treatment may include vaginal suppositories or medicated douches.

In patients with recurrent candidiasis, treatment consists of therapy based on a positive fungal culture, corroborated by a negative follow-up culture. This results in resolution of symptoms approximately 90 percent of the time.

Previous: Trichomoniasis Next: Bacterial vaginosis

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