Estrogen on Candida spp. of the Vagina: Is there any effect?

Document Type : Narrative Review


Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, University of Karbala, Iraq


 A variety of Candida spp. as the most common fungus in the human body can normally be found in the vagina competing with other microbotes. Its presence is affected by variable conditions in the vaginal environment. The proliferation of Candida spp. in the vagina under specific conditions can result in a fungal disease known as vaginal candidiasis. More than 17 species of Candida out of 200 members of this genus are capable of causing diseases within the human body. Estrogen, along with other steroidal hormones, has been shown to have direct multifunctional effects on various pathogenic microorganisms by numerous activities. Its production and other factors such as disturbance of microbial balance and immune activity may alter the vaginal physical environment and promote the development of vaginal fungal infection. The vaginal functions can be affected by the level of circulation of estrogens in the blood according to the stage of the menstrual cycle in women. It also has many other functional actions on the vaginal structure. Estrogen and several other factors play an important role in determining the vaginal content of Candida species. Its effect could be a direct action on the cells of Candida or through an indirect effect on the immunity defenses of the vagina.