Are you struggling with recurrent thrush?

Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (RVVC) is a chronic form of thrush and it affects 138 million women annually. Living with recurrent thrush is never a fun time and can have a significant impact on a female’s health (physically, mentally and emotionally).

“Women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis are significantly more likely to suffer clinical depression, to be less satisfied with life, to have poorer self esteem, and to perceive their lives as more stressful. Additionally, women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis reported that their candidiasis seriously interfered with their sexual and emotional relationships” (Irving et al. 1998).

Let’s look at what defines recurrent thrush:

You experience 3-4 episodes or more in a 12 month period.

At least one episode is proven by culture (you could also have culture negatives, yet symptoms are still present).

Often little to no relief from topical antifungal creams or standard antibiotic treatments.

Treatment may work for a brief period, however symptoms return with a minimal trigger.

Now let’s look at the common clinical symptoms of RVVC:

  • Itching or a burning sensation.
  • Thick white discharge.
  • Swollen or red tissue.
  • Pain with urination from inflammation.
  • Pain with intercourse.
  • Usually no odor.
  • Dryness.

Risk patterns of RVVC:

Some women will notice a change in symptoms due to hormone fluctuations, which could mean symptoms worsen at ovulation and the mid luteal phase. This is associated with estrogen peaks and the relationship to progesterone/estrogen.

Some women will notice a relief of symptoms after menstruation.

Symptoms can be low grade to extreme. Some women may only experience one or two of these symptoms and have negative swab results, which can make diagnosis challenging.

Risk factors for RVVC:

RVVC includes a shift to the vaginal ecosystem. Risk factors that can shift the vaginal microbiome include the following:

  • Blood sugar shifts.
  • Diabetes.
  • Antibiotic use.
  • Medications.
  • Mucosal immunity.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Sexual intercourse, oral sex, or a change in sexual partner.

If RVVC is left unmanged it can increase the risk of:

  • Hyper-sensation of the immune response.
  • Pelvic floor issues.
  • Chronic pain & inflammation.
  • The need for long term antibiotic therapy.
  • It can have huge impacts on self esteem + sexual relationships.

Holistic Treatment:

Treatment for RVVC is more complex than standard anti-fungal creams & recurrent antibiotic use, which can further disrupt the vagina microbiome.

If you’ve been struggling with RVVC you’ve most likely tried multiple rounds of standard medical treatment with little to no success.

Treatment often needs a multifaceted, holistic approach that explores the drivers of recurrence. Treatment should include nervous system support, hormonal regulation, dietary adjustments, immune support, herbal medicine and lifestyle changes.

If you’re struggling with RVVC, this may be your prompt to seek further vaginal microbiome, holistic treatment. Book a complimentary call to discuss how I can further support you.

Written by Jana Taylor
Registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist

November 2022