Vulvovaginal candidiasis is the second most common cause of vaginal infection and affects mainly women between the ages of 20 and 45. Although it is not a severe infection in healthy women, it can become serious. Its symptoms (itching, burning and irritation) can be very uncomfortable and have an impact on quality of life.

Why does vulvovaginal candidiasis occur?

Vulvovaginal candidiasis is caused by different species of the fungus Candida. The most common is Candida albincans, which is responsible for 9 out of 10 cases, although there are other species that are becoming increasingly prevalent (C. tropicalis, C. krusei, C. guillermond and C. glabrata).

The microbiota that protects the vaginal mucosa is made up of different bacteria in perfect balance, and among them may be Candida albicans. 20-50% of asymptomatic, healthy women have their vaginas colonized by this fungus, which is part of the normal flora, without infection. The problem arises when, for various reasons, there is an overgrowth of colonies of candida and a decrease in lactobacilli species, which is when candidiasis is triggered.

What factors may trigger candidiasis?

There are several hormonal and external factors that may increase the risk of developing vaginal candidiasis: 

  • The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics that destroy the normal microbiota of the vagina.
  • The increase in estrogen levels, either for contraception or during pregnancy, enhances the adhesion of the fungus to the cells of the vaginal microbiota.
  • Treatments with corticoids or immunosuppressors that affect the immune response.
  • Diabetes, due to the high content of glucose that enhances the colonization of the genital tract.

What natural alternatives may help us? 

Conventional treatment to deal with vaginal candidiasis uses antifungal drugs, but relapses are quite common due to the resistance of the fungus to that treatment or the permanence of risk factors. To cope with this situation and help in the prevention and treatment of this infection, supplementation with probiotics may contribute to regenerating vaginal flora, recovering it and keeping it balanced.

Several strains of probiotics have proven to be efficient here, mainly Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

Food can also be a great ally for recurrent infections. Candida is a fungus that feeds mainly on carbohydrates, so it’s advisable to avoid ultra-processed foods, foods with a high glycemic index, or those containing yeast, gluten cereals or refined carbohydrates. Instead, the diet should include green-leafy vegetables, cruciferous, asparagus, artichoke and red berries.


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