Candida (yeast) sensitivity or allergy in the vulva or vagina

You can have an allergic vaginitis reaction to Candida albicans. that results in an itchy, raw, burning vulva and vagina.

Test results may be negative for yeast, and while itching and burning may appear as a regular yeast infection, very little yeast may appear on swabs.

Over-the-counter vaginal fungal preparations may offer some relief, and symptoms may appear with other seasonal allergies. Candida allergy may be unresponsive to treatment.

Treating a yeast allergy with allergen immunotherapy

A small number of studies show that allergen immunotherapy (regular injections) can help those affected by vulvovaginal yeast allergy. A positive skin test can be the most helpful in diagnosing a true allergy to Candida.

One study found that out of 33 women who tested positive to a yeast allergy, 22 had an improvement in symptoms, with complete cure in nine patients, and others with partial responses whereby the frequency of allergic reactions was reduced.

Eleven patients showed no improvement and one got worse. Results were evident between two months and one year after the beginning of treatments, with episodes and intensity of vulvovaginitis reducing.

Most of the patients had other allergies too, like hayfever or eczema.

Getting the yeast infection diagnosis right

Yeast infections come in two forms. The most common form of yeast infection looks white, which is what causes the lumpy white discharge of vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Yeast infections can also occur in the mouth, oesophagus and intestines. The red sort of yeast is not an actively growing form of yeast, but the yeast has invaded underlying tissue and penetrated epithelial cells.

This invasion causes constant irritation to tissues, resulting in inflammation, redness and burning.

This type of yeast can be the cause of vulvodynia or vulvar vestibulitis, which is a very painful vulva condition. If the vagina and vulva is red, the yeast infection should be considered the deeper form.

Diagnosing candidiasis hypersensitivity syndrome

Candida allergy can make someone more susceptible to yeast infections. A simple allergy test should be performed by your doctor.

Treatment for Candida allergy

Candida allergy requires removal of the yeast and the causes of yeast infections. Typically this will involve diet modifications (reduce carbs, sugars), while undergoing a systemic and vaginal antifungal treatment.

Undergoing allergen immunotherapy may be an option. Removing triggers of yeast infections due to lifestyle factors needs to be considered very seriously, since many elements are known to cause yeast infections, such as hormonal contraceptives like the pill.

We suggest seeking the experience and knowledge of a naturopath to undergo parts of this treatment without allergen immunotherapy or strong drug antifungals if possible to avoid resistance.

Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)