Experts Guide You to Deconstruct the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Methods of Candida Infection

Candida infection is a very common female disease, and most women have experienced Candida vaginitis, with over half of them having a chance of recurrence. Will Candida infection heal itself? What are the symptoms? This article will provide a detailed explanation of the causes, symptoms, and treatment methods of Candida infection, as well as teach you how to prevent the chances of Candida infection.

What is Candida?

Candida, also known as "white yeast," is a common fungus in the vagina, appearing as a cheesy discharge. Healthy women usually have bacteria and a small amount of Candida in their vagina. However, when the body's immune system is weakened, the vaginal pH or hormones change, the amount of Candida will increase, leading to Candida vaginitis.

Symptoms of Candida Infection

During Candida infection, the vagina and perineum may become swollen, itchy, and painful. There may be pain in the genital area during sexual intercourse, as well as a burning sensation during urination. Additionally, the most obvious symptom is the secretion of a large amount of white, curd-like discharge from the vagina. If there is inflammation and ulceration in the external genitalia, perineum, or groin, it is considered a severe symptom, and medical attention should be sought promptly for Candida treatment.

Causes of Susceptibility to Candida Infection

Women of any age have the chance to develop Candida vaginitis, but those with weaker immune systems are more susceptible. The following are the reasons that can trigger Candida infection:

Frequent staying up late and irregular sleep patterns

Frequent staying up late and insufficient sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, making individuals more susceptible to Candida infection.

Wearing tight and non-breathable underwear and pants

Regularly wearing non-breathable materials for underwear or tight pants can cause changes in the quantity of bacteria and a small amount of Candida in the vagina due to the trapped heat, thus leading to Candida infection.

Poor hygiene habits

If underwear is not changed daily or sanitary pads are not frequently changed during menstruation, it can increase the likelihood of developing Candida vaginitis.

Having a sweet tooth

Frequent consumption of sweets can increase the acidity in the vagina, leading to the overgrowth of Candida yeast and significantly increasing the chances of Candida infection.

Excessive vaginal cleansing

Excessive cleaning of the vagina or using douches directly to rinse the vagina can disrupt the pH balance inside the vagina and wash away the bacteria that protect the vagina, reducing its protective abilities and providing an opportunity for Candida to multiply.

Underlying medical conditions or medications

Additionally, individuals such as pregnant women, diabetes patients, those with immune system disorders, and individuals taking antibiotics, contraceptive pills, or immunosuppressive medications are more prone to developing Candida vaginitis.

Can Candida vaginitis heal on its own?

Does Candida infection heal on its own? There are many misconceptions about Candida infection, which can lead to delayed treatment and worsened conditions. Generally, Candida vaginitis does not heal on its own, and to prevent the possibility of recurrence, patients should seek medical treatment promptly.

Treatment methods for Candida infection

If you have a Candida infection, it is recommended to seek medical attention early and follow the doctor's instructions for medication treatment to avoid complications and recurrence. Candida vaginitis can be treated in general outpatient clinics or private clinics, and the doctor will prescribe appropriate medications for the patient. The entire Candida treatment process usually takes about one week.

Commonly used medications for treating Candida infection include vaginal suppositories, topical creams, and oral medications. Vaginal suppositories are commonly used for Candida treatment. After bathing or before going to bed, the patient should wash their hands, insert the suppository into the vagina to a depth of about one finger, and allow the medication to dissolve on its own. If the Candida infection is caused by other underlying conditions, the doctor will prescribe suitable medications based on the patient's situation. Additionally, Candida can be transmitted to partners, and men can also be infected. Therefore, when there is a suspicion of infection, it is recommended to abstain from sexual intercourse.

Is taking probiotics helpful for Candida infections?

The presence of lactobacilli in the vagina helps maintain a normal acidic pH environment and serves as a type of probiotic. They form a natural protective barrier that inhibits the excessive growth of pathogenic bacteria, thus preventing infections. However, when the harmful bacteria in the vagina become active and the lactobacilli in the body are unable to resist external bacteria, vaginal infections can occur. Therefore, long-term supplementation of probiotics can effectively maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the body, enhance immunity, and reduce the chances of Candida infections.

How to reduce the chances of Candida infections?

To reduce the chances of Candida infections, you can start by improving the following lifestyle habits:

  • Maintain good hygiene by changing and washing underwear daily.
  • Wear breathable underwear to keep the vagina dry.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants frequently.
  • Ensure sufficient sleep and establish a balanced and healthy diet.
  • After using the toilet, wipe from front to back to avoid transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
  • Avoid douching the vagina directly.
  • Avoid using scented or chemically treated sanitary pads or toilet paper.
  • Taking probiotics or supplements such as cranberry can help regulate the vaginal pH level and reduce the chances of Candida infections.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist
Dr. Suen Sik Hung, Stephen