Vulvovaginal fungal infections

Vulvovaginal Fungal Infections

Vulvovaginal fungal infections, or vaginitis, is an infection of the vagina characterized by itching, burning, soreness, irritation and discharge. It affects up to 75% of women at some point in their lives and often occurs after antibiotics have been used, sexual activity, and menopause. Vulvovaginal fungal infections can be uncomfortable and embarrassing and if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body.


The most common type of vulvovaginal fungal infection is called yeast infection, or candidiasis. This is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. Other types of infections include bacterial vaginosis, which is caused by an overgrowth of certain bacteria, trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection, and vulvovaginal candidiasis, which is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina.


Vulvovaginal fungal infections can be caused by a variety of factors. Certain activities such as taking antibiotics, having sex and douching can disrupt the balance of bacteria and other microorganisms in the vagina and lead to an overgrowth of the fungus Candida. Other factors such as pregnancy, diabetes, and weakened immune systems can also contribute to a vulvovaginal fungal infection.


  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Soreness
  • Irritation
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Redness and swelling around the vulva

Diagnosis and Treatment

Vulvovaginal infections can usually be diagnosed by a physical exam and/or a sample of vaginal discharge to be examined under a microscope. To treat a vulvovaginal fungal infection, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medications such as miconazole, clotrimazole, or terconazole. These medications are usually taken orally or applied topically to the affected area.

In some cases, a vulvovaginal fungal infection can recur and proper preventative measures should be taken. These include avoiding douching, wearing cotton underwear, avoiding scented feminine products, and avoiding overly tight clothing. Keeping the vaginal area clean and dry can also help to prevent the overgrowth of fungus.