Candidiasis: yeast infection

Candidiasis is the infection of the vagina with the common yeast candida albicans. This yeast occurs in our bowel, mouth, skin and also the vagina. Under certain circumstances it can grow rampant, invade the tissues and thus cause an infection. Of the women who refer to their doctor because of vaginal infection 37% have Candidiasis. The complaints start with excessive vaginal discharge and itching of the genital area. The discharge looks a bit like cottage cheese and has an unpleasant smell. Swelling, redness, painful sex, irritation of the outer and inner labia and painful urinating are other frequent symptoms.

Yeast infection often occurs when the cells of the vagina wall contain a lot of sugar. This is the case during the second half of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and when you are using a birth control pill. Women with diabetes are predisposed for infection with Candida. Candida is connected to the healthy acidic environment of the vagina and this is easily understood because just as Lactobacilli, this organism needs the cell sugar to feed on. The infection with Candida is often ´easy to treat, but difficult to cure´. It can be very tenacious, recurrent and even chronical in spite of treatments with medication. It is better to prevent than to cure. It is important to understand why Candida gets a chance. Health condition (mentally and physically), hormone balance, sugar consumption and allergies all have an impact on the development of Candida. When using a vaginal douche a lot of undesired yeast cells are removed. In case of a serious Candida infection, medication will always be prescribed. These treatments are best supported by good vaginal hygiene and by the use of V-Secure Gel and Femifresh vaginal Deodorant to soothe the nuisance of itching and pain.

When frequently suffering from infection with Candida (Candidiasis) and having a weak defense system against this fungus, a thorough treatment with the best fungicidal medication is advised to eradicate the yeast throughout the body. Partners should also be treated as it has been proven that they too can be a source of yeast infection. 

Fluor vaginalis:excessive discharge

Excessive discharge is always caused by a disturbance of the balance of the vaginal environment, so by an irritation of the vagina. This does not necessarily involve a real infection that needs medication. Excessive discharge can be caused by bacteria, parasites, yeast or viruses, but also by ´mechanical´ irritation e.g. tight trousers or occlusion e.g. synthetic underwear and panty liners. One should take action to prevent the development of a real infection by applying extra vaginal hygiene. This means: no soap but washing with lukewarm slightly acid water and internal ´washing´ with a vaginal douche. Often excessive discharge also comes with itching, pain (during sex as well), burning or irritated labia.

Pruritis Vulvae: itching

This is the persistent itching of the labia. It can be caused by different factors such as allergies (e.g. synthetic underwear, soap, the rubber of condoms, sprays, medication), infections, irritation/occlusion by tight trousers or hygienic towels, rough toilet paper, not frequently enough changing of sanitary napkins etc. It is important that one checks which factor can be the cause of the complaint and to avoid that factor. Against itching a gel like V-Secure Gel should be applied to avoid getting into a vicious circle of itching and scratching (causing even more itch). 

Vulvitis and Vaginitis

These are infections of the vulva (the area of the labia) and the vagina. The infection occurs when harmful (pathogenic) micro-organisms are present and get a chance to grow rampant. This is often the case in situations of decreased resistance and often sexual transmitted micro-organism are present. The complaints are usually pain (also during sex), burning, itching, swelling and redness. Excessive discharge is again present and it usually looks abnormal and smells unpleasant. Again extra vaginal hygiene is important. It is advised to apply V-Secure Gel internally and externally. This gel helps to restore a healthy vaginal condition and is very effective against the complaints as well. However, sometimes the problem has a dermatological cause. In case of small wounds, blisters and flaking of the skin around the vaginal area it is wise to consult a dermatologist. 

Note: In all cases, when one hesitates and/or complaints have not disappeared within 2 weeks with the measures of extra vaginal hygiene and the application of V-Secure Gel and Femifresh and P-Wash by male partner one must always consult a physician for a thorough examination and a vaginal smear.


What can be done against Bacterial Vaginosis?

You may have heard of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). Strictly speaking, this is not an infection like tonsillitis, for example, but a bacterial dysbalance by the overgrowth of undesirable or harmful bacteria in the vagina. Bacterial Vaginosis (also known as gardnerella infection, amine colpitis and hemophilus vaginitis) is not a classic (i.e. contagious) sexually transmitted disease, but a bacterial imbalance of the vaginal flora. Although harmful germs are transmitted during sexual intercourse, the female recipient will not necessarily contract Bacterial Vaginosis, because a man cannot contract bacterial vaginosis.

What causes Bacterial Vaginosis?

Normally the pH value of the vaginal flora ranges from 3.8 to 4.4:the environment is acidic. This acidic pH protects the vagina from infections and is maintained by the lactobacilli which produce lactic acid. These lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) are thus essential and are particularly important 'residents' of the vagina. If the vagina lacks sufficient lactobacilli or the pH increases (saltier) by for example salty sperm fluids, the vagina may become increasingly colonized by the gardnerella vaginalis and other BV related bacteria. When the pH value increases to approximately 5 or higher, the diagnosis is BV.

What are the symptoms of BV?

The typical symptoms of BV are a foul, fishy odor from the vagina and increased vaginal discharge (in most cases a grayish color). Itching in the vaginal area (entrance to the vagina) is atypical, but is often also reported. 

How do I treat Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis and its high pH can lead to further genital diseases (for example Trichomonas, HPV) and it is therefore very important that it is treated. V-Secure Wash and Femifresh are a reliable and natural alternative to antibiotics (metronidazole). It does not have any undesirable side effects and blocks the harmful bacteria. In contrast to antibiotics it does not destroy the essential lactic acid bacteria and therefore re-installs the defensive acid pH.

Bacterial Vaginosis is a risk for pregnant women

In pregnant women BV can lead to premature labor. Therefore prevention is particularly important for this risk group. V-Secure Wash can also be used safely during pregnancy.

BV is often mistaken for a yeast infection

Women who suffer from BV often mistake it for a vaginal yeast infection. Yet Bacterial Vaginosis is much more common than a vaginal yeast infection. The frequency of vaginal complaints is distributed approximately as follows:

  • Bacterial vaginosis 46%
  • Vaginal yeast infections 29%
  • Other complaints 25%

Recognize, treat and prevent a vaginal yeast infection

Vaginal yeast infection (vaginal mycosis) is certainly one of the most well-known genital complaints. The genital area and an internal area of the vagina are colonized by a large number of multiplying yeast cells, which use the genital area as a host. The most common pathogen is the yeast Candida albicans. Vaginal yeast infection is also known as vaginal yeast, vaginal mycosis or vaginal thrush. The vaginal yeast feeds on the cellular glucose of the vaginal mucous membrane just like the important lactic acid bacteria do. Yeast, as well as bacteria, is in fact a normal 'resident' of the vaginal environment. In an ideal or normal situation the yeast is not present in large numbers. It is important that the vaginal yeast cannot multiply.

The acidic vaginal pH forms the defense

In menstruating women the lactobacilli dominate the vaginal environment and maintain the typical acidic pH value of the vaginal environment (approximately pH 3.8 - 4.4) by secreting lactic acid. This acidic pH value acts as a vaginal barrier, protecting it from pathogens and vaginal yeast. As a result, the healthy vagina can defend itself against vaginal infections and vaginal yeast. The menstrual cycle affects the hormones in the body for example, which in turn increases the probability of vaginal yeast infections during certain periods. As yeast is almost always present in lower concentrations in the vaginal environment, a vaginal yeast infection is thus not necessarily caused by an external infection but in many cases is caused by weakened vaginal defense, which can no longer stop the yeast from multiplying. This is mainly caused by antibiotics. This is why it is particularly important to support the vaginal flora during antibiotic treatments to prevent vaginal yeast. 

How can you recognize vaginal yeast?

The characteristic signs of a vaginal yeast infection are a white curd-like discharge and severe itching. Redness in the genital area, often in combination with soreness, is also a typical symptom. Often there are white deposits on the mucous membrane of the vagina, which cannot be wiped off. These are known as thrush deposits.

How can you treat vaginal yeast?

There are various treatments for vaginal yeast infection. The application of a wash that simulates the body's own lactobacilli V-Secure Wash is particularly effective. The vaginal flora can be effectively strengthened in this way. It is then able to defend itself against the yeast. A self-healing process without any side effects!

How can you prevent vaginal yeast?

To prevent vaginal yeast, the proper intimate hygiene should be applied. Yeast in the genital area is often simply caused by washing 'improperly'. However, vaginal yeast can also be caused by a treatment with antibiotics, as a reaction to a weakened immune system. It is therefore useful to stimulate the body's own lactobacilli as prevention if the immune system is under severe pressure. V-Secure Wash helps to prevent the outbreak of a vaginal yeast infection. 

5 tips when you think you suffer from vaginal yeast:

  • Make sure that you are really suffering from vaginal yeast and not a bacterial infection (consult a physician if necessary)
  • Be on the look out for crumbly, white discharge
  • Severe itching is often a symptom of vaginal yeast
  • Wear permeable cotton underwear
  • Avoid sex until the yeast has been treated

How can you treat a dry vagina?

Many women will suffer from a dry vagina at some point in their lives. This can be very painful and often occurs during menopause (climacteric period). However, vaginal dryness can also affect younger women.

What is a dry vagina?

A dry vagina means that the vagina does not become moist, which can cause a burning sensation or itching in the vagina and is most of all accompanied by pain and difficulty when having sex.

Why is moisture (lubrication) needed in the vagina?

The vagina secretes a thick fluid when the woman is aroused so that the penis can penetrate the vagina and move inside it. This discharge allows sex to be pleasant for the woman and prevents damage to sensitive tissue.

Why does the vagina suddenly become dry?

This varies from woman to woman and is not always easy to diagnose as there are many reasons for a dry vagina (vaginal dryness). Generally a distinction can be made between physical and emotional and/or social reasons, whereas vaginal dryness can also be caused by several factors occurring at the same time.

Physical factors that cause vaginal dryness

Physically, the lack of discharge can be caused by hormonal fluctuations that occur, for instance, during pregnancy and menopause. The ingestion of drugs, hormonal contraception, alcohol or nicotine can also prevent the production of discharge and therefore contribute to vaginal dryness. Illnesses such as high blood pressure or diabetes, bladder infections or infections with the human papilloma virus, and vaginal mycosis (vaginal yeast), often cause vaginal dryness. However, vaginal dryness can also be a consequence of chemotherapy, operations or endometriosis.

Psychological and/or social factors that cause vaginal dryness

Psychological and/or social factors include stress and nervousness and problems relating to arousal and difficulties in the relationship. In some cases trauma or tabooed sexual education may be the cause of the phenomenon dry vagina.

What can be done about a dry vagina?

There are a multitude of causes for vaginal dryness and the treatments are just as numerous, ranging from strengthening the vaginal flora to strategies regarding stress and/or problem-solving, to taking estrogen. To find the correct treatment method for vaginal dryness it is therefore important to accurately establish the cause. If you are unable to establish the cause, you should consult a gynecologist. The use of a hormone-free and natural lubricant/moisturizing gel like V-Secure Gel brings direct relief. 

What is the vaginal flora?

Various microbes are present in the vagina of every healthy woman and this is completely natural. These microbes (e.g. yeast and bacteria) live in a delicate balance with the lactobacilli. This balance is very important for the healthy shape of the vagina. The combination of various residents of the vagina and on the mucous membrane of the vagina is called vaginal flora.

What is the purpose of the vaginal flora?

The purpose of the vaginal flora is to protect the vagina. The lactic acid ferments fructose from the mucous membrane cells into lactic acid, which provides the typically acidic pH value of the vagina. The environment is acidic, because pathogenic bacteria do not like an acidic environment. The acidic environment thus forms a barrier against pathogens. Additionally, some lactic-acid bacteria also produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which kills the germs and prevents germs from multiplying freely.

How does the vagina protect itself from pathogens if they are actually part of the vaginal flora?

Through the opening of the vagina microorganisms can easily enter the vagina. As long as the intruders do not multiply too much, the vagina can tolerate their presence. Its protective mechanism (lactic acid/hydrogen peroxide) defends itself against intruders. The healthy shape of the vaginal flora depends on the balance of the residents of the vagina in terms of their volume. If for example the harmful bacteria multiply too strongly, this will be harmful to the vagina and a bacterial vaginal infection will occur.

What can disrupt the balance of the vaginal flora?

The delicate balance of the vaginal flora can be disrupted by:

  • improper intimate hygiene
  • a weak immune system
  • medication
  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • hormonal changes
  • 'Disrupted' in this case means that the lactic acid bacteria are reduced and cannot perform their protective function.

How can I keep the vaginal flora stable and/or restabilize it?

Firstly by treating the genital area properly. This mainly involves proper intimate hygiene. Improper personal hygiene can destroy the lactobacilli. Secondly, targeted strengthening of the body's own lactobacilli is a good way to keep the vaginal flora in shape. To do this use V-Secure Wash or Femifresh Deodorant.

Vaginal infections

Vaginal infections are one of the most common genital diseases in women in reproductive age. They can be caused by viruses, yeast, single cell organisms (protozoa) and bacteria and will often remain unnoticed until the gynecologist discovers them during a routine examination (up to 5% of patients suffer from vaginal infection, but do not have noticeable symptoms). The complaints and signs of a vaginal infection can vary significantly in their type and extent (depending on the pathogen involved).

1. Bacterial vaginal infection:

The most common vaginal infection (occurring more frequently than a yeast infection) is bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is mainly a result of anaerobic bacteria (do not require oxygen) outnumbering good vaginal bacteria (lactobacilli). In almost all cases the gynecologist will find evidence of the bacterium ‘gardnerella vaginalis’ (in the vaginal discharge), which is why bacterial vaginosis is also frequently known as ‘gardnerella infection’.

2. Vaginal yeast infection:

A vaginal yeast infection is mostly caused by the yeast fungus Candida albicans, which is in small amounts a normal 'resident' of the vaginal flora (the vaginal environment). Only if it is able to multiply to such a number that it outnumbers the organisms present in the vagina, the typical symptoms of vaginal yeast will appear (itching, crumbly-white discharge, redness in the vaginal area...) and this is known as a vaginal yeast infection.

3. Vaginal infection with single-cell organisms:

Of the single-cell organisms (protozoas, parasitic organisms), it is trichomonas (trichomonas vaginalis) that causes vaginal infection. Trichomonas is almost always transmitted through sex. The pathogen trichomonas vaginalis has cleverly adapted to the dominating environment in the vagina (you could say it is specialized in it) and can move around well with its flagella (thread-like appendages).  

4. Viral vaginal infection:

The most significant viral vaginal infections are caused by thehuman papillomavirus (HPV) and by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Both types of viruses can be transmitted through sex, but also through contaminated items (sex toys, towels, toilets, shared razors, underwear, etc.).

Vaginal odor

There is a lot of guessing related to vaginal odor. Is it too strong, too weak or even unpleasant? But what kind of odor is normal at certain times and what kind of smell indicates a vaginal infection? 

What does a healthy vagina smell like?

Each vagina has its own, unique odor. Just like every person has its own, personal smell. Vaginal odor is therefore completely normal and natural. If you were to describe vaginal odor it would probably be described as slightly acidic. It is slightly acidic, because lactobacilli, which produce lactic acid, are present in the vagina.

Why does vaginal odor sometimes change?

When hormones change the vaginal odor also changes. The vagianal odor is for example a little stronger around ovulation than on other days. Many women also notice a temporary change in the odor after unprotected sex. This is because the sperm temporarily raises the pH of the vagina.

Can an unpleasant vaginal odor indicate an illness?

If the vagina consistently has a fishy smell, it is likely to be"bacterial vaginosis". This is a very common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age, triggered by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. It can lead to infertility and can cause premature labor in pregnant women. Women noticing a yeast-like odor in the intimate area (often only very light) may have a vaginal yeast infection. In addition to the yeast smell, vaginal yeast infection can be recognized by severe itching, redness and crumbly-white discharge.

How can I avoid vaginal odor?

Like mentioned above, vaginal odor is completely natural and normal: every woman's vagina has a certain smell. Whether a smell is unpleasant differs from person to person. Unpleasant vaginal odor is best treated with proper intimate hygiene and care.  Do not use regular soaps, shampoos or perfumes for the intimate area. To cleanse the area, plain water is enough. If you wish to use a product for the intimate area, only use especially developed products like V-Secure Gel & Femifresh Deodorant. These products are designed for the female intimate area and are completely free from harsh ingredients. 

1. Vaginal yeast infection

The overgrowth of yeast in the vagina is a relatively common cause of itching in the intimate area. The diagnosis vaginal yeast infection is used if the yeast living in the vagina multiply to the extent that the other 'residents' of the vagina, particularly the lactobacilli are reduced and are unable to fulfill their defensive role within the vagina.

2. Lice

Pubic lice are transmitted by sex, but also by contaminated bedding and/or mattresses. This causes severe itching in the intimate area, which is accompanied by visible scratch marks. The incubation period is between three and six weeks. Consult your doctor for advice.

3. Bacterial vaginosis

A bacterial overgrowth of harmful bacteria, Bacterial Vaginosis, is the most common infectious disease of the vagina in women in reproductive age. It occurs if the bacteria that are naturally present in the vagina multiply severely, reducing other 'residents' of the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is accompanied by the following possible symptoms: First and foremost a different vaginal odor (fishy smell), stronger than it normally is and runny grayish-white discharge. Itching in the intitmate area, a burning sensation, and pain can also be concomitant symptoms.

4. Improper intimate hygiene

Improper and excessive intimate hygiene also causes many vaginal problems, including itching in the vaginal area. The vaginal environment is very delicate and is highly susceptible to various irritations. This means that, for example, washing too intensively, or using of intimate lotions, soaps or perfumed sprays, can disrupt the natural balance of the residents of the vagina. This can cause irritation including the above infections of the vagina, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginal yeast infection. Improper intimate hygiene is therefore one of the main causes of itching in the intimate area and further vaginal problems.

Vaginal discharge

Between puberty and menopause the vagina secretes a fluid that is known as discharge (vaginal discharge), known in medicine as fluor vaginalis or fluor genitalis. The discharge consists of vaginal mucosal cells and mucous from the uterus, which acts as the vagina's self-cleaning and self-defense mechanism. Discharge from a healthy vagina is a whitish-clear to light-yellow color and is therefore also sometimes known as white discharge. Its consistency is watery to thick and varies from woman to woman in the same way that the color, quantity and odor (normally odorless) do. The appearance of fluor genitalis may change during the female cycle and is therefore often particularly much during ovulation and shortly before menstruation.

Vaginal infection

When the vagina is infected, the appearance and smell of the discharge change (it can become purulent, bloody, a greenish or brown color...), which is why you should always pay particular attention to it. You should always go to the doctor if you notice any abnormal change in your discharge.

Yeast infection or Bacterial Vaginosis?

A crumbly white discharge, accompanied by more or less severe itching for example is an indication of a possible yeast infection. If the discharge is a grayish color, watery and has an unpleasant fishy odor it is very likely that this is Bacterial Vaginosis. Both diagnoses (vaginal yeast and bacterial vaginosis), which occur very frequently and can happen to any woman, are the consequence of a disrupted vaginal flora, which is caused by an imbalance of the lactobacilli (lactic-acid bacteria) and the other bacteria and yeast naturally occurring in the vagina.

Insufficient discharge

However, problems can also occur if the discharge is insufficiently or no longer produced by the vagina, which can happen for example during menopause. This is known as vaginal dryness, which not only can affect (post) menopausal women, but can also affect young women.

Unprotected sex

After unprotected sexthe discharge may also change, as the acidic pH value of the vagina is temporarily increased by the alkaline sperm. However, this is not harmful to a healthy vagina. As you are now aware, discharge is an important component of your inner system and its appearance is subject to continuous cyclical fluctuations. Therefore, please do not put your vagina through an inappropriate and excessive hygiene program if you notice stains or moisture in your underwear, as you may severely disrupt its function.