Monilial vaginitis is a vaginal infection involving yeast in the genus Candida, formerly known as Monilia. It is also known as candidiasis and is a very common infection, usually seen after puberty. Often, it can be managed with self care at home, although there are also prescription medications available to treat it. People who experience recurrent monilial vaginitis should be evaluated by a gynecologist, as there may be a serious underlying cause.
These yeasts are found naturally on the body in small concentrations. When the pH of the vagina is disrupted or there is a shift in the normal balance of vaginal flora, it is possible for the yeast to gain a foothold and start growing rapidly, causing an inflammation and potentially leading to an infection. People with this condition tend to notice a strong smelling, thick white discharge from the vagina. They may feel itching and burning, especially during urination.
Home care for monilial vaginitis includes keeping the genitals clean, using mild unscented soaps, and taking over-the-counter antifungal drugs designed for vaginal yeast infections. These drugs are usually applied directly to the vagina. Some people also have success with home remedies like yogurt with live active cultures to bring the vaginal pH back up and make the environment hostile to the invading yeast. If patients do not recover within a few days, it is time to go to the doctor for a more aggressive prescription drug.
Risk factors for developing monilial vaginitis can include the menstrual period, with many people experiencing yeast infections around or immediately after periods, along with increased sexual activity. People can also be susceptible if they have depressed immune systems as a result of medical conditions or drugs they are taking to treat health problems. It is important to be aware that yeast infections are not necessarily always linked with sexual activity or poor hygiene, although these can be causes.
Sometimes, people become infected with a resistant strain of yeast. They may develop recurrent infections if they are not treated with an appropriate medication to eliminate the harmful yeast. Repeat infections can also be a sign of immune dysfunction in patients who have a previous history of generally good health. People who notice repeat infections within a short period of time should consult a doctor to get an evaluation and learn more about what is causing them and how they can be more effectively managed. Potential complications of untreated and recurrent yeast infections can include pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition linked with fertility problems.