Candida vulvovaginitis also has been called "vulvovaginal candidiasis," "candidal vaginitis," "monilial infection," or "vaginal yeast infection." Twenty to 25% of the vaginitis cases are candida vulvovaginitis. It has been estimated that about 75% of all women get a vaginal yeast infection at least once. In 80-90% of the cases, candida vulvovaginitis is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. The remaining cases are caused by other species of Candida. It is not known what causes the yeast overgrowth. However, antibiotics can inadvertently kill normal bacteria in the vagina and cause an overgrowth of Candida.
Candida vulvovaginitis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease because Candida species are commonly found in the healthy vagina. It is a rare disease in girls before puberty and celibate women. Vaginal yeast infections tend to occur more frequently in women who are pregnant, diabetic and not controlling their disease, taking birth control pills, or taking antibiotics. Some women have four or more attacks per year which is called "recurrent vaginal candidiasis."
Trichomoniasis, which is sometimes called "trich," accounts for 15-20% of the cases of vaginitis. It is estimated that two million to three million American women get trichomoniasis each year. Unlike the previous two causes of vulvovaginitis, trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease. This means that the disease is passed from person-to-person only by sexual contact. Trichomoniasis occurs in both men and women and is caused by an infection with the single-celled parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Infection with Trichomonas vaginalis is frequently associated with other sexually transmitted diseases and assists the spread of the AIDS virus.
Belinda Rowland PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,