Are you experiencing vaginal itching, pain, or other discomfort? It could be a vaginal infection.
The vagina is a sensitive part of the woman’s body, which sometimes develops infections or inflammation that could affect the quality of your life, anxiety, and discomfort.
Medication, contraception, sexual activity, and more can make your vagina feel uncomfortable or cause changes in the smell and appearance of discharge, signaling a vaginal infection, sometimes called vaginitis.
Most often, infections are triggered by bacteria, fungus, or irritants from soap or contraceptives. It’s tempting to self-diagnose if you experience vaginal discomfort, but vaginitis isn’t always treatable with over-the-counter remedies.
Conditions such as lack of estrogen and vaginal dryness could increase the risk of passing organisms responsible for vaginitis.
Vaginitis can be one of the following types:
Yeast infections might be the most well-known vaginal infection. A yeast infection develops because of fungus overgrowth in your vagina. The most common symptom of a yeast infection is vaginal itchiness. It’s often accompanied by increased vaginal discharge that’s thick and white in color.
There is an abundance of over-the-counter medications for yeast infections. Many women assume they have a yeast infection if they have vaginal discomfort, but these over-the-counter treatments aren’t always effective. If you’ve tried over-the-counter remedies but you’re still experiencing symptoms, contact us today!
Your vagina naturally has bacteria. If one type of bacteria begins to grow too much, it upsets the balance. and you might develop a bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis. It can be triggered by having several sex partners or a new partner, but it also affects women who aren’t sexually active.
A bacterial infection may make vaginal discharge gray or yellow. Sometimes, women notice that the discharge has a fishy odor, particularly after having sex.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Certain vaginal infections are transmitted through sexual intercourse. If you have unprotected sex with someone who has an STI, you can contract it. Trichomoniasis is one of the most common STIs affecting both women and men, and symptoms can mimic those of other vaginal infections.
It’s a parasite that may cause frothy, unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge. Discharge may be greenish-yellow, gray, or white, but not everyone who has it displays symptoms.
Having one STI may put you at greater risk for contracting others, but only about 30% of people with trichomoniasis have symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get screened for STIs regularly, even if you don’t have noticeable symptoms.
Vaginal atrophy is a condition common among menopausal women. Estrogen levels reduce during menopause, causing thinning of the vaginal lining. This thinning causes irritation, burning, dryness, urinary urgency, and frequency. The condition could also occur if you are under medication for breast cancer or endometriosis, which typically reduces the estrogen level
Common signs of vaginal infection include:
- Changes in vaginal discharge
- Pain with sex
- Pain with urination
- Increased need to urinate
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
Diagnosis and Treatment
The diagnosis of vaginitis depends upon the symptoms you display. Your doctor will discuss the symptoms you are experiencing and the likely causes.
However, he or she will still perform tests to identify the actual cause of vaginitis (it is possible to have one or more types of vaginitis co-occurring.)
Your doctor will collect a sample of your vaginal discharge during a pelvic for lab analysis and prescribe the right medication based on the causative organism. The doctor will also test your vaginal pH to check for either bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.
In some cases, your doctor might have to biopsy the vulva, especially if you do not respond to treatment.
Your doctor will also collect your medical history and ask questions about the products you could be using.
When you have four or more cases of vaginitis within twelve months, you are experiencing recurrent vaginitis. Recurrent vaginitis can be bothersome and frustrating due to the discomfort associated with the condition.
The infection can be a new infection or a redevelopment of an existing condition that did not heal completely during the previous treatment. This could be the case if you used over the counter medications to treat the infection, without a lab analysis to identify the exact cause of vaginitis.
Full treatment is essential in restoring the normal balance of the vaginal ecosystem and preventing recurrence. Treatment is typically longer and could include:
- Suppressants to keep you asymptomatic
- Counseling on lifestyle changes that you can adopt to lower the risks of recurrence
- Probiotic therapy either orally or vaginally
- Use of boric acid and nitroimidazole