Yeast is a fungus found in various parts of the body, including the vaginal microflora. Fortunately, there are usually only a small amount of yeast cells in the vagina relative to the number of good bacteria present. However, if the yeast grows out of control and creates an imbalance, it can affect the vaginal microflora.
How Does Yeast Imbalance Affect My Vaginal Microflora?
Before examining how yeast imbalance affects the vaginal microflora, it would be helpful to review the composition of the vaginal ecosystem.
Understanding The Vaginal Microflora
The vagina contains a variety of microorganisms, which are known collectively as the vaginal microflora. The ecosystem includes good bacteria called lactobacilli, as well as bad bacteria. However, when the vagina is healthy, lactobacilli are the prevalent species.
Lactobacilli keep the pH level of the vagina mildly acidic and prevent the growth of disease-causing organisms. They also protect against invading pathogens.
However, if the healthy vaginal microbiome is disrupted, it can alter the pH of the vagina and throw the ecosystem off balance. This makes the environment favorable to the growth of yeast and other hostile organisms.
Yeast Imbalance Alters The Vaginal Microflora
It’s normal to have a small amount of yeast (candida) in the vagina. However, yeast cells can grow quickly when there is a change in the balance of the vaginal microflora.
A shift in the composition of the vaginal microflora can occur due to various factors including, hormone fluctuations, the onset of menopause, and stress.
When there is an imbalance of yeast in the vagina, it means the microflora is in an altered state. This variation from the normal flora pattern is known as an altered vaginal microflora pattern. Excess yeast in the vagina can lead to a vaginal yeast infection.
A vaginal yeast infection is a form of vaginitis, which is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the vagina. Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include itching, burning pain on urination and during intercourse, and a thick white vaginal discharge. These symptoms often arise when the vaginal secretions from the altered microflora irritate the vaginal tissues.
Vaginal yeast infections have traditionally been treated with antifungal medications. However, this will only relieve symptoms temporarily if the underlying problem of an altered vaginal microflora is not resolved.
If the yeast imbalance in the vagina goes untreated, it can lead to recurrent vaginal yeast infections.
Restoring Balance To The Vaginal Microflora
In order to restore the health of the microflora when there is a yeast imbalance, it’s necessary to identify the altered vaginal microflora pattern present. This can be done using a vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test.
The VFA test was developed by board-certified gynecologist Dr. R. Stuart Fowler of Fowler GYN International (FGI). The VFA test is an advanced diagnostic tool that analyses the components of the vaginal constituents. When the results of the test are confirmed, FGI will formulate a customized treatment protocol.
The treatment protocol recommended for correcting a yeast imbalance typically involves a combination of medications and hypocontactant skincare products.
When the vaginal microbiome is returned to a normal state the vaginal secretions will once again become neutral, and the ecosystem will not encourage the overgrowth of yeast. As a result, the symptoms of the yeast infection will resolve.
It can take up to 4 months to see results with a customized treatment protocol from FGI.