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GLENMARK CLOTRIMAZOLE

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WHAT IS A VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION?

Candida albicans is a yeast (also known as a fungus) that is normally present in small quantities inside the vagina. Candida does not cause any symptoms until it starts to multiply. This is referred to as Vulvovaginal Candidiasis or VVC. The word ‘vulva’ refers to the area outside of the vagina, which also becomes infected with candida as the infection spreads.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION?

Candida and many other microscopic organisms (including those which are not Candida or yeast) normally live in the vagina and keep each others’ growth in check without causing symptoms. However, sometimes an imbalance occurs within our body or outside our body, such as a hormonal change which might cause Candida to multiply and produce symptoms of vaginal yeast infections.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

-Abnormal white cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge (sometimes can be thin and watery)
-Discharge has little or no odour
-Pain with Intercourse
-Pain when passing urine
-Vaginal itching and burning, sometimes with redness
-There may be cracked layer in the vagina (called a fissure)
-Redness and swelling of the vulva (external part around the vagina)

THIS CAN HAPPEN IF YOU ARE…

-Taking antibiotics – they make you wipe out the normal bacteria of the vagina, causing Candida to multiply
-Pregnant – hormonal changes are thought to increase growth of Candida 
-Diabetic – it can be a sign of poor control
-Menstruating – especially the week before your period is due
-Suffering from a low or suppressed immunity – e.g. HIV, cortisone medicines
-Wearing constrictive undergarments – e.g. nylon pantihose

HOW IS CANDIDA INFECTION DIAGNOSED?

Since there are many other vaginal infections that can cause symptoms similar to Candida, a diagnosis should not be based on the symptoms alone. Usually, a diagnosis is made by taking a sample of the vaginal secretions and looking at it under the microscope. This procedure is accurate in 85% of cases. Other tests include a vaginal pH and a culture. Please check with your healthcare provider.

IS IT A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE?

A Vaginal Candida infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection. However, some men may develop symptoms after having sexual contact with an infected partner.

UNCOMPLICATED VS. COMPLICATED INFECTIONS

Vaginal Candida infection is mostly uncomplicated unless the following is present, in which case it is regarded as complicated and every effort should be made to first eliminate any underlying factor/s that may be causing the recurrence of the infection.

-recurrent infection (4 or more infections per year)
-severe symptoms
-pregnancy
-underlying conditions, e.g. diabetes, suppressed immunity
-infection with another type of Candida yeast

Treatment of this involves an initial induction regimen, followed by maintenance treatment. You have to speak to a healthcare professional about suitable treatment.

TREATMENT

Several effective vaginal agents are available in a variety of formulations, e.g. vaginal creams, tablets and pessaries. Oral agents are also effective but they can have potential systematic side effects. There has been a growing tendency to use shorter courses of vaginal and oral agents for mild to moderate infections.

VAGINAL TABLETS

Studies have shown that vaginal tablets are well tolerated and that women find them not messy to use. Compared to oral tablets, vaginal tablets work locally with minimal or no systemic absorption.

      How to insert a Vaginal Tablet

  1. Load the tablet into the applicator 
  2. Insert deeply into the vagina, preferably when you go to bed 
  3. Although vaginal tablets can be used during menstruation, treatment is best if carried out between menstrual cycles. 

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OUTLOOK AND PROGNOSIS

Vaginal agents are remarkably safe and well tolerated and can achieve a cure in 80-90% of uncomplicated infections. Ninety percent of women complicated infections can remain disease-free while on treatment.

3 out of 4 Women experience a yeast infection at least once in a lifetime.

40 to 50 Percent suffer recurrent episodes.

WHEN TO CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR

-It is your first vaginal infection
-You are pregnant
-You are diabetic
-Your immune system is suppressed
-Your symptoms are severe
-You have more than four infections per year (recurrent infection)
-You have had a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
-You have been exposed to a partner with an STI
-You are younger than 16 years or older than 60 years
-Your discharge is bloodstained or you have vaginal bleeding that is not your normal period
-You have vaginal sores or blisters
-You have pain in your lower abdomen
-Your infection is not improving with treatment

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