Vaginal yeast infections are common in women. Imbalance in the vaginal microbiota could favor their onset. Fungi from the Candida family are most often involved.
Vaginal yeast infection is an infection of the vulva and vagina caused by a fungus, most often Candida albicans. Over the course of their lives, 75% of women will experience an episode of this infection and 5 to 10% will have several episodes. Yeast infection is characterized by thick, odorless discharge and particularly by genital itchiness. These symptoms are not very specific, so it’s important to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
Vaginal microbiota involved
There are factors that predispose the onset of yeast infections: antibiotic treatment, pregnancy, taking corticosteroids, poorly managed diabetes, and immunosuppression. In actual fact, Candida is normally present in the vagina. But an imbalance in vaginal flora can promote the abnormal proliferation of Candida and allow the infection to develop.
The vaginal ecosystem changes over the different stages of a woman’s life, such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancies, puberty, menopause, sexual activity, contraception, and with hygiene. In women in good health, it is dominated by lactobacilli bacteria. Lactobacilli may play a protective role against the development of yeast infections.
Antifungals and probiotics
The classic treatment for vaginal yeast infection is antifungal. Recent studies suggest that oral or topical probiotics (pills or vaginal suppositories) can reduce the appearance of yeast infection by reestablishing the vaginal microbiota.
Infections sexuellement transmissibles et SIDA http://centreplanif.chru-lille.fr/doc/InfectionssexuellementtransmissiblesetSIDA/64292_1lesperte.pdf
Mendling W, Brasch J, Cornely OA, et al. Guideline: vulvovaginal candidosis (AWMF 015/072), S2k (excluding chronic mucocutaneous candidosis) [published correction appears in Mycoses. 2015 May;58(5):324. Multiple author names added.]. Mycoses. 2015;58 Suppl 1:1-15.
Rönnqvist PD, Forsgren-Brusk UB, Grahn-Håkansson EE. Lactobacilli in the female genital tract in relation to other genital microbes and vaginal pH. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(6):726-35..
Antonio MA, Rabe LK, Hillier SL. Colonization of the rectum by Lactobacillus species and decreased risk of bacterial vaginosis. J Infect Dis. 2005;192(3):394-398.
Strus M, Chmielarczyk A, Kochan P, et al. Studies on the effects of probiotic Lactobacillus mixture given orally on vaginal and rectal colonization and on parameters of vaginal health in women with intermediate vaginal flora. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2012;163(2):210-215.
Vujic G, Jajac Knez A, Despot Stefanovic V, Kuzmic Vrbanovic V. Efficacy of orally applied probiotic capsules for bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013;168(1):75-79.