What You Need to Know to Treat it Successfully
Almost every woman alive today will get candida vaginitis or vaginal yeast infections at some point in their lives. Many will suffer from multiple cases every year and many will also get them every month around ovulation. Since 2002, women spend half a billion dollars a year on over the counter medications for this disease. Because of this I decided to devote an entire section on the many different types of vaginal thrush infections.
The general consensus is that the candida yeast is transfered from the intestine, through the anus, and infects the vaginal tissues. In cases of chronic vaginal yeast, she will always have intestinal yeast. Sex is believed to be the second likely route of infection in 40% or less of these cases but this has not been conclusively proven.
However, over the years I have come to the conclussion that sex is definitely a cause of many candida vaginitis cases in women. It's hard to ignore the fact that many women get candida vaginitis
after having sex with their partner, they then get rid of it only to get the infection again upon having sex. They will then get rid of it again and use a condom for the next 6 months and not get an infection......until they have sex again without that condom!
Once in the vagina it takes up residence first as the mycelial form of candida and extends its legs known as hyphae into the flesh. There candida vaginitis becomes established under the outer layer of skin and if the food supply is good, it begins to produce spores or yeasts and can double its population in an hour. If the food supply is bad, then it can continue its hyphael growth and further penetrate the tissues in search of food.
When candida vaginitis has burrowed under the top layer of skin and becomes established; blood sugar levels, the friction from sex, and hormones can set off spore outbreaks. At this point the infection is much harder to get rid of.
Typical candida vaginitis symptoms include a thick creamy white discharge but candida glabrata produces a clear watery discharge. The itching is usually worse when the patient is warm in bed or after a bath. Burning may be experienced during urination or during sexual intercourse. Many times the symptoms are worse prior to menstruation.
Many times the infected woman misdiagnoses herself with candida vaginitis and she actually has bacterial vaginosis
. Candida vaginitis typically does not smell but bacterial vaginosis does. Testing can be done in the form of a culture to determine if it is candida and what species and this test is more accurate than microscopy. However, if the physician sees hyphae under the microscope then diagnosis is accurate, they are hard to miss.
Microscopic exams sometimes show yeasts and the presence of no hyphae, which indicate candida glabrata, not candida albicans. Candida glabrata does not produce hyphae, only spores, and seems to be a result of the over prescribing of Diflucan, which it is very resistant to because of the biofilm it creates to protect itself.
Quite often the presence of the candida antibodies IgA and IgG are present in blood serum and vaginal secretions and the yeasts are often coated with these antibodies.
Pregnancy and diabetes are the two largest risk factors for candida vaginitis. Antibiotics and birth control pills also contribute and almost every women knows that extended use of antibiotics usually gives them vaginal yeast infections. Nylon underwear makes the problem worse and it has been found that candida can live on synthetic underwear unless laundered at a high temperature. Other risk factors are oral-genital contact, douching, and using pads during menstruation instead of tampons.
Several researchers have found significant changes in the natural vaginal flora in patients with candida vaginitis. This can be associated with the over use of antibiotics because they kill both good and bad bacteria. Bad diets are also a cause of bacterial imbalance because they alter the intesinal ph of the intestines and this promotes the growth of bad bacteria and other microforms while reducing good bacteria and immune function.
Many websites out there claim vaginal yeast loves progesterone. However, in studies in rats and mice infected vaginally with candida albicans, oestrogen was used to keep the candida alive during testing. One such study done in 1999 by Paul L. Fidel Jr., Jessica Cutright, and Chad Steele of Louisiana State University, and published in the American Society of Microbiology in 2000; found that progesterone has no effect on vaginal candida in mice but excess estrogen promoted its growth. They also found that excess estrogen reduced the ability of skin cells to prevent colonization of candida on the vaginal walls. Estrogen is also responsible for glycogen levels in the vagina and glycogen feeds yeast.
It is also known that excess estrogen becomes toxic to the body and has been linked to breast cancer and reduced function of the thymic gland. The thymic gland is responsible for the maturation of the t-cells that are produced in the bone marrow. Upon maturation it releases them into the body and they help provide for its defense.
A clear correlation has been found between defective cellular responses and recurrent candida vaginitis. So much so, that it is believed that these patient's have some sort of tempory deficiency in T-lymphocyte response to the invader. In my mind, this brings us right back to estrogen dominance and the thymic gland that produces those t-cells.
Witkin and Associates believe vaginal yeast is caused by a defect in the prostaglandin secretion by the patient's macrophages which blocks the responses of the lymphocytes.
Mathur et al. has demonstrated anti-ovarian and anti-thymocyte antibodies in some patients, a factor that also suppreses t-lymphocyte function. Peripheral neutrophils often show decreased function, deficiencies in IgA antibodies, and excessive intake of sugars have also been proven as a cause of vaginal yeast infections.
Vandermaas considers recurrent candida vaginitis as usually secondary to a low grade bacterial infection, which indicates an imbalance in the good to bad bacterial levels within the body. I have a tendency to agree, but I also believe estrogen dominance is the biggest problem with recurring vaginal yeast infections. Do you have to much estrogen in your body