- Sheath fungus: description
- Vaginal fungus: symptoms
- Vaginal fungus: causes and risk factors
- Vaginal fungus: examinations and diagnosis
- Vaginal fungus: treatment
- Vaginal fungus: disease course and prognosis
vaginal yeast infection is a common fungal infection in women that only affects the vagina. It is caused by yeast fungi, which are transmitted in most cases from person to person. A vaginal infection is manifested by increased vaginal discharge and itching and burning of the vagina. The vaginal fungus is treated with special anti-fungal medicines (antimycotics). Read all important information about vaginal fungus here.
ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. B37
vaginal yeast infection
Causes and risk factors
Examinations and diagnosis
Disease course and prognosis
Sheath fungus: description
Sheath fungus (also called vaginal fungus or soorkolpitis) is an infection of the vagina with fungi. In most cases, they are yeasts (more specifically: Candida albicans). Sexual intercourse is a common transmission pathway for vaginal thrush or other forms of fungal infection: women and men can infect each other with fungi; In the case of the woman, this can lead to the vaginal fungus, in the case of the man to the penile fungus.
How a fungal infection in the genital area of the man runs, read in the article penis fungus.
Natural vaginal flora
A healthy vagina is never germ-free, but houses a natural vaginal flora: here live bacteria (predominantly lactic acid bacteria) and mushrooms side by side, which form an acidic milieu. In this harmful germs can hardly thrive. A healthy vaginal environment thus naturally prevents a vaginal yeast infection. But if there are shifts in the balance of the vaginal milieu, there is a risk of a vaginal fungus.
The vaginal environment is essentially determined by the hormonal situation in the body. In the course of life and in the context of monthly hormone fluctuations, the composition is subject to natural fluctuations. Especially the female sex hormones (estrogens) influence the composition of the vaginal flora.
Vaginal fungus: frequency
Overall, vaginal thrush is one of the most common genital diseases. It is estimated that at least eight out of every ten women have a vaginal thrush once in their lifetime. The infection can affect women of all ages and occurs worldwide. Young girls and older women are slightly more likely to be affected than women of child-bearing potential due to changes in hormone balance (lower estrogen levels).
Vaginal fungus: symptoms
For all the symptoms of vaginal thrush, see vaginal yeast symptoms.
Vaginal fungus: causes and risk factors
The cause of vaginal fungus are various types of fungi that do not belong to the normal flora of the vagina. A healthy vaginal environment is characterized by lactic acid bacteria (lactobacilli and Döderlein bacteria). These form lactic acid from the sugars that are in the sheath cells. In the vagina so creates an acidic pH, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. Other bacteria and fungi are therefore unable to settle or multiply well in a healthy vaginal flora. However, if the natural environment of the vagina is disturbed, a vaginal fungus can develop.
Main cause of vaginal thrush: Candida albicans
The pathogens of a vagina fungus are yeast fungi, of which there are different species. The most important vaginal fungus cause are yeasts of the type Candida albicans. Other yeasts are only rarely responsible for a vaginal yeast infection. Yeast mushrooms multiply best at a temperature of 37 degrees. Therefore, the human body is the ideal environment for mushrooms.
In the microscope, fungi can be recognized as filiform structures, called hyphae. Single fungal threads can also be detected in the vagina of newborns and healthy women. However, these usually cause no symptoms, but only if they can multiply thanks to a disturbed vaginal milieu.
Risk Factor: Weak immune system
A disorder of the vaginal milieu can be due to various causes. The most common cause is a weakened immune system. In some cases, vaginal thrush is caused by antibiotics - drugs that fight bacteria and make no distinction between beneficial and harmful germs. It can also be eliminated lactic acid bacteria in the vagina. A vaginal fungus after antibiotic application occurs especially when the medication is taken longer than one to two weeks. In general, the longer an antibiotic therapy lasts, the higher the risk of fungal infection.
A weakened body defense can also result from a therapy with drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants).Such immunosuppressive therapy can be carried out, for example, with cortisone tablets or anticancer drugs (cytostatics). Likewise, metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and a hyperthyroidism or under-function
Risk Factor: Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes also lead to a change in the vaginal milieu. They occur naturally in women during their life and during the menstrual cycle.
In addition, taking the pill also affects the hormone balance of the woman. In particular, older pill preparations, which contain high hormone concentrations, favor the development of vaginal fungus. The pills, which have developed from recent research, usually have a significantly lower hormone concentration and therefore have no major impact on the vaginal environment. An exception to this is the "morning after pill", which can seriously disturb the hormone balance.
Risk Factor: Excessive or poor personal hygiene
Another risk factor for vagina fungus is the body hygiene: both "too much" and "too little" body hygiene can harm. Excessive personal hygiene can result in the destruction or removal of beneficial bacterial species that can not resist the vaginal fungus. Even a neglected personal hygiene promotes the development of vaginal fungus as well as other infections.
Risk Factor: Wrong clothes
Heat and moisture favor vaginal fungus. Skinny clothing and underwear made of synthetic fabrics are therefore unfavorable, because they promote sweating and can cause heat accumulation - fungi multiply particularly well in warm and humid places.
Risk factor: stress and mental stress
According to recent research, stress and psychological stress have a negative effect on the vaginal environment and favor the development of vaginal fungus.
Vaginal fungus & pregnancy
Changes in the hormone balance also occur during pregnancy. In the case of pregnant women, for example, there is an increased sugar content and reduced acidity in the vagina. This favors vaginal yeast infections. There is a risk that the fungus transferred to the baby in a normal, vaginal birth. Therefore, in women who have a vaginal fungus during pregnancy, get to a birth by caesarean section.
Vaginal fungus is contagious
That vaginal fungus is contagious, should be considered especially during sexual intercourse: Affected women can be transferred to the fungus on their partner. The counterpart to the vaginal fungus in men is called penile fungus. Conversely, a man can transfer fungi to the woman, where they then establish themselves as a vaginal fungus.
Vaginal fungus: examinations and diagnosis
In case of a suspected vaginal fungus the gynecologist is the most important contact person. This first raises the medical history (anamnesis). You have the opportunity to describe your complaints exactly. In order to rule out other illnesses that have similar symptoms, the doctor may also ask questions such as:
- Have you been on vacation lately?
- Is your partner suffering from a sexually transmitted disease?
- Have you recently had sexual intercourse with unknown persons?
- Did such symptoms ever happen in the past?
After the anamnesis, a physical examination takes place. The doctor acts as well as during the regular gynecological check-up. A vaginal fungal infection can be recognized, for example, by a whitish to grayish coating. The mucous membrane of the vagina appears patchy, places with coverings alternate with reddened areas. If the doctor gently removes some of the coverings, a highly erythematous, often bleeding vaginal mucous membrane becomes visible underneath.
To determine which pathogens are responsible for the infection, a smear of the vaginal mucosa is taken. This can be examined under the microscope. Filamentous structures in the microscopic picture (so-called hyphae) indicate a fungal infection. For example, a bacterial infection can be differentiated from a vaginal fungus. In individual cases where detection under the microscope is unsuccessful, a culture of the sample is created in the laboratory: optimum growth conditions are ensured so that the germs in the sample multiply. Then they are easier to identify.
Once the pathogen is known, the infection can be targeted. In addition, it is also important to clarify individual risk factors that favor the development of vaginal fungus. For example, the doctor may ask you about existing conditions or medications that are being taken. The doctor may also refer you to topics such as sexual practices or the nature and choice of sexual partners.
Vaginal fungus: treatment
Everything important for the treatment of vaginal thrush can be read under vaginal fungus treatment.
How to prevent vaginal fungus
In order to prevent a vagina fungus, one must know the risk factors.
First, it is important to prevent heat and moisture in the vagina.You should therefore avoid synthetic underwear and panty liners with synthetic coating, as these promote sweat production and impede heat dissipation. Wet things should be changed as fast as possible. For example, do not let your bathing clothes dry on your body.
For sensitive women tampons can also promote soorkolpitis. Switching to bandages can be helpful here.
Women who have had problems with their vagina before can help balance the vaginal milieu with special suppositories from the pharmacy. These suppositories transfer lactic acid bacteria to the mucous membrane of the vagina and thus support the formation of an acidic and protective environment.
When it comes to toilet hygiene, it's important to wipe from front to back. If you wipe from back to front, it may be possible to transfer pathogens from the anal area to the vagina (smear infection) - a possible result is a vagina fungus.
Sex or contaminated objects are common transmission pathways in vaginal thrush. In the case of an existing infection, special attention must be paid to hygiene. Avoid sexual intercourse during a vaginal infection. Towels should never be shared with other people. Wash your towels at least every other day, preferably in the kitchen linen wash. There are also special detergents that can kill fungal spores. Underwear should be changed every day in vaginal fungus and best washed separately.
Vaginal fungus: disease course and prognosis
With timely and consistent therapy, the prognosis for vaginal fungus is favorable. As a rule, a fungal infection lasts no longer than a few weeks and heals without permanent damage. In about 95 percent of all affected women a vaginal fungus occurs only once in a lifetime and does not return.
However, if there are still favoring factors after treatment, a vaginal thrush can recur at any time. Such factors should therefore be eliminated as far as possible: for example, switching from an estrogen-rich contraceptive pill to an estrogen-free contraceptive pill may be helpful.
Even if there are other diseases that promote the development of vaginal fungus, the prognosis is not so favorable. Without therapy, a chronic vaginal fungus can develop here. In persistent and severe cases of vaginal thrush, some sufferers have to undergo long-term therapy for several months with an oral antimycotic. However, even this treatment actually only leads to sustainable success in the case of some of those affected Vaginal yeast infection.
Read more about the therapies
- sitz bath