An uncommon vaginal yeast infection
Cryptococcal vaginal yeast infections are uncommon, but do occur, often in immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcus species are yeast/fungi that exist across the globe, surviving in the environment and on humans and animals.
Most people don’t develop disease after breathing in or being in contact with Cryptococcus species. Infection with Cryptococcus species is called cryptococcosis, typically affecting the lungs. It has rarely been found in the vaginal tract, but it does exist as a cause of vulvovaginal infections.
Symptoms of cryptococcal vaginal infection
- Vaginal lesions
- Possible bleeding
Treatment of cryptococcal vaginal infection
Biomedical treatment is typically with antimicrobials, such as fluconazole.
Cryptococcus is grown in culture as a yeast, but the sexual form of this species are filamentous fungi. The name Cryptococcus is only used when referring to the yeast state of the fungus.
C. neoformans is different to other Cryptococcus species, being much more virulent due to differences in its capsule. There are about 37 species of Cryptococcus, with most living in soil and not harmful to humans. The biggest risk to humans is C. neoformans, but C. laurentii and C. albidus have both been implicated in human disease.
C. neoformans in vulvovaginal infections
C. neoformans causes infections in humans, but these people are not infectious to others. Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans are the two main subspecies believed to cause vulvovaginal infections in women.
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- Gopal M, McCrosson S, Edmonds P, Klein T. Cryptococcosis of the upper genital tract. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2009 Feb;23(2):71-3. doi: 10.1089/apc.2008.0108.