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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Chronic fungal infections

This is the most common condition that a gynaecologist like myself sees almost on a daily basis. The most common and unfortunately one of the most difficult to eradicate. Chronic recurrent fungal infection can however be controlled. It depends on how motivated a patient is. There are many naturopathic treatments that have been advocated but most results with 'candida and parasite cleansing diets are anecdotal and not proven. Why is it so difficult to control ..because it is a condition that is related to the bodies immune system of which a great is not known about. We do know that the parasite lives as a commensal in parts of the body just as other harmless bacteria. In some patients there is a greater abundance of these yeast spores and when during times of stress as in chronic illness, pregnancy or when taking antibiotics, the yeast spores multiply and cause infections which present as vaginal itch and discharge.
Certain measures taken can help to reduce the chances of recurrence such as reducing sugar intake, carbohydrates, taking antibiotics, maintaining a healthy lifestyle of sufficient rest, sleep and excercise.
Taking probiotics may very well help if the correct probiotic is taken. There have been some advocates of probiotic vaccines as opposed to oral probiotics, however their value has not been proven.
The take home message is to treat the fungal infection vigorously in the early stages. If not with each subsequent infection it becomes more difficult to treat with medication and takes longer to resolve with a higher chance of recurrence. There are many medical treatment regimes for controlling and preventing recurrent chronic fungal infections. It is important to see a gynaecologist for a proper workup and appropriate treament. Self medication is very common for fungal infections but sometimes the diagnosis of the vaginal discharge or itch may be wrong and therefore treatment inappropriate.



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