Genital candidiasis is an infectious disease caused by the fungus. Candida albicans which can be found naturally in the body, especially in the intimate region of men and women, without causing any signs or symptoms. However, when there is an increase in the amount of this fungus, it is possible that signs and symptoms of infection appear, such as pain and burning when urinating, itching in the intimate region and pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, for example.
The proliferation of the fungus can happen due to several situations that can cause imbalance in the genital microbiota, such as stress, use of antibiotics, hormonal imbalances and decompensated diabetes, for example, it is important that the gynecologist or urologist be consulted so that treatment can be started most appropriate.
Some of the main causes of imbalance in the genital microbiota and increased risk of candidiasis are:
1. Use of synthetic or very tight underwear
The use of synthetic fabric underwear and/or very tight pants, shorts or shorts can increase the risk of thrush because they impede ventilation of the genital region, which makes it more humid and the temperature in this region is higher , favoring the proliferation of the fungus.
Thus, it is important that cotton underwear and lighter and less tight clothes are used so that proper ventilation is possible, avoiding the imbalance of the genital microbiota.
2. Recent use of antibiotics
Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used to fight infections, however, in addition to eliminating the bacteria they are intended for, they also reduce the number of “good bacteria” present in the vagina that are responsible for preventing the growth of fungi. Thus, there is an imbalance of the genital microbiota, allowing the development of the fungus Candida albicans, resulting in infection.
3. Decompensated diabetes
Decompensated diabetes is also one of the causes of candidiasis, because in this case there is a large amount of sugar circulating in the blood, which is a factor that favors the development of fungi in the genital region. Thus, it is common for people with untreated diabetes to have candidiasis recurrently. Therefore, it is important that the treatment for diabetes with the use of medication and/or insulin injections is carried out in accordance with the endocrinologist’s guidance.
4. Stress and anxiety
Excessive stress and anxiety are able to reduce the immune system’s response to defend the body and, therefore, during periods of great pressure, it is common to have an imbalance of the microbiota and the development of infections, including candidiasis.
5. Hormonal imbalances
Hormonal changes common during pregnancy and menopause due to hormone replacement therapy also facilitate the development of fungi that cause candidiasis.
6. Autoimmune diseases
Although it is one of the less frequent causes of the development of candidiasis, the presence of an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or even immunosuppressive therapy due to HIV or cancer, can lead to the development of candidiasis.
In any case, it is advisable to consult a gynecologist to start the appropriate treatment with local or oral antifungal agents and to identify what may have caused the appearance of candidiasis.
What to do
To prevent genital candidiasis, it is important to maintain good intimate hygiene, avoid wearing too tight clothes, wear cotton underwear and always keep the area very dry, so you can avoid fungal proliferation. In addition, in case candidiasis is related to decompensated diabetes, for example, it is important that the treatment for diabetes is followed according to medical advice, as this way it is possible to reduce circulating sugar levels and prevent infections.
To alleviate the symptoms of thrush, your doctor may recommend the use of antifungal ointments, creams, or tablets to fight excess fungus and alleviate the symptoms.