Any girl will vouch that vaginal infection is one of the most uncomfortable experiences ever. They cause itching, burning, inflammation, and more. They can make the acts of urination and intercourse, or even just sitting or walking, extremely painful. Here’s a look at the most common vaginal infections.
4 Most Common Vaginal Infections
Let’s take a look at the vaginal infections, their symptoms and their causes.
1. Bacterial Vaginosis
The most common infection among women, Bacterial Vaginosis results from disruption of vaginal pH level, leading to an imbalance of natural bacteria in the vagina.
Symptoms: BV can cause irritation in the labia, with itchiness in the pubic area. You’ll feel burning during urination, along with a fishy smell. The nature of normal discharge can also turn watery or change its colour.
Causes: The pH level in the vagina can be disrupted because of the foreign products that enter the vagina, like unclean sex toys. One of the major causes of BV is also using vaginal cleansing products to clean the inside, as well as douching, vaginal steaming, etc.
Treatment and Prevention: Topical or oral antibiotics can treat the infection. It is important to pay immediate attention to BV, as leaving it untreated can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. Besides avoiding the obvious causes, you can also make it a habit to use gentle vaginal cleansers to clean just the vulva or the external vaginal region. Do not use harsh and fragrant products.
2. Yeast Infection
Yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina, and is an extremely common infection in women.
Symptoms: Symptoms include inflammation, irritation, and itchiness, particularly during urination or intercourse. Some women also experience irregular discharge.
Causes: Yeast infection can be caused because of a higher level of oestrogen because of antibiotics and other medications, or during pregnancy, hormone therapy, or the second half of the menstrual cycle. It can also be caused if you leave your vagina wet or warm for a long period, as a result of wearing wet bathing suit, workout clothes, or sanitary napkins for too long.
Treatment and Prevention: Over-the-counter medicines can help to treat this infection. Along with avoiding the possible causes of the infection, you can add probiotics to your diet to decrease the chances of yeast infection.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted vaginitis, common among women between 16 and 35.
Symptoms: The symptoms are not particularly noticeable; there may be a foul odor, general discomfort in the vulva and vagina, and the vaginal discharge changing its colour to yellowish or greenish.
Causes: It is caused by a parasite, Trichomoniasis, or ‘trich’, that’s sexually transmitted, through oral, anal or vaginal sex. It can also be acquired in poorly chlorinated public pools or ill-maintained hot tubs.
Treatment and Prevention: After proper diagnosis, you can be treated with oral medication. It is important to ensure that you get a thorough treatment, as the parasite can continue to linger in the vagina. Using condoms during sex (Types of condoms) can prevent such diseases. Also, avoid public hot tubs and pools that look unclean.
4. Group B Strep
Group B Strep is a common infection among pregnant women.
Symptoms: Usually, there are no signs. However, some women suffer urinary tract infections due to GBS, and as a result, they can face painful urination or cloudy urine.
Causes: GBS is caused by bacteria, found in the vagina or rectum of about 25% women.
Treatment and Prevention: There’s no way to prevent GBS. It can be diagnosed through tests between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. Antibiotics are given during delivery so that the infection is not passed on to the child.
Other common vaginal infections are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, etc.
To prevent vaginal infections, it is a good idea to maintain proper hygiene. Cleanse the exterior part of your vagina regularly with water and a mild natural cleanser like the Imbue Intimate Hygiene Foam. Don’t use internal cleansers. Keep yourself clean and dry by changing your underwear and your tampons/sanitary napkins regularly. Use protection during intercourse, especially if you have multiple partners. And once diagnosed, get yourself treated immediately, to avoid further complications.