The vagina is one of the most delicate and sensitive parts of a woman’s body. It might sound nice and easy now, but your body can go for a real toss if it doesn’t feel right and comfortable down there. You twist and squirm and wriggle even while sitting on a chair because something in your intimates is irritating you. It is normal and you want to do something to end that feeling.

Your vagina might smell a little abnormal than other good days and there might be a burning or itching sensation. Although it’s intolerable, it is not the end of the world for any woman. These probably are an indication of an infection in the vagina. From public toilets to running water of all sorts, a woman’s vagina comes in contact with so many alien elements in a day that it often becomes difficult to find the reason behind the infection. Before knowing the what’s and how’s, let’s get a better understanding of vaginal infections.

So what exactly are Vaginal Infections?

It is a broad term to explain the various conditions that can affect the hygiene of feminine health. No one knows what exactly is a vaginal infection but surely it is analyzed by the common symptoms such as vaginal itching, painful sexual intercourse, pain while urinating or vaginal discharge. One should know the causes and factors affecting vaginal health.

Symptoms of Vaginal infections

Any change in the smell or color of the vaginal discharge can indicate an infection in the vagina. Some of the symptoms that women commonly experience during a vaginal infection are mentioned below-

  • Change in the vaginal discharge- Apart from the color of the vaginal discharge, it can be heavier or the texture can be different.
  • Itching, burning, swelling, or soreness in or near the vagina.
  • A feeling of burning sensation while peeing.
  • Sex becomes very painful.
  • Instances of vaginal bleeding or spotting 

One may experience a mixed infection with having no clear symptoms. Only an expert gynecologist may offer better suggestions and treatment.

The symptoms of vaginal infection can also differ according to the cause of the infections. 

Causes of Vaginal Infections 

The vagina gets infected due to various microorganisms that enter the body. A vaginal infection can be bacterial or fungal depending on the type of organism that has attacked the vagina. 

Some of the most common vaginal infections are- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), Candidiasis & Trichomoniasis. Lets read about them in detail- 

  • Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis is the common cause of vaginal itching. This infection occurs when there is an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria or a change in vaginal pH level. Although the symptoms are similar to a yeast infection, the discharge is more watery with a bad odor. It can be treated with an Over-The-Counter cream, but gynecologists can also prescribe other medications if the cream proves to be ineffective. This is the most common cause of vaginal infection among women having a ratio of 50%.

  • Candidiasis

Also known as a yeast infection or thrush, it is caused by the pH imbalance in the vagina. Apart from the pH level disturbance, it can also get develop due to consuming antibiotics, poor sexual habits, stress, eating an unhealthy diet, diabetes, etc. Along with the itchiness, rash, and redness in the vagina and the outer area, women also complain about the curdled, white, and thick discharge.

These symptoms occur randomly. OTC treatment can help to cure the symptoms in a day or more. To avoid recurrent yeast infections in the intimate area, a gynecologist may recommend consuming probiotics regularly. Apparently, doctors believe that a yeast infection is more likely to occur in winters as compared to summers.

  • Trichomoniasis

This infection is a common one. It is called Sexually Transmitted infections or STIs. Unprotected sex may lead to infection to your vagina. The increasing problem may lead to a burning sensation as well. There can be a burning sensation when you urinate. Other symptoms are foul-smelling discharge, sores in genital parts, pain during sex. Get timely treatment from a gynecologist to get relief.

  • Vaginal Dryness

After menopause or childbirth, there can be in decline estrogen levels which can lead to vaginal thinning and dryness. This provides a suitable environment for various infections to develop.

Some other causes of a vaginal infection include-

  • Low estrogen levels during menopause or pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Steroid treatment
  • Wearing non-breathable undergarments
  • frequent vaginal douching
  • Use of perfumed feminine hygiene scents, gels or sprays
  • Having a weak immune system due to HIV/AIDS
  • Suffering from diabetes 

Complications of Vaginal Infections

female having vaginal pain

Leaving a vaginal infection, especially a yeast infection should not be left untreated. The infection can spread and lead to inflammation, soreness, or cracks in and around the vagina. 

An infection that has not been treated for a while can spread to other parts of the reproductive system and cause pelvic pain. 

Treatment of Vaginal Infections

The most effective treatment for vaginal infection is taking medications. Depending on the type of infection that has affected the vagina, gynecologist prescribes drugs, OTC creams, or suppositories. 

  • For yeast infections, doctors prescribe antifungal creams or suppositories.
  • To get relief from vaginal dryness, gynecologist recommends estrogen creams or tablets. One can also undergo laser treatment for vaginal dryness.
  • For infections that occur due to bad bacteria, antibiotics are prescribed. 

Prevention of Vaginal Infections

Thankfully, a vaginal infection is preventable. Keeping the vagina healthy can lower the risk of various infections. But how to keep the vagina supple so that it is not attacked by any harmful organism? Here are some effective measures that can prevent vaginal infections-

  • Use a condom while having sex to prevent the spreading of sexually transmitting infections. 
  • It is essential to maintain proper hygiene near the vagina. Some of the tips that can be followed are-
    -Avoid scented products or harsh soaps down there
    -Avoid douching
    -Wear cotton underwear to promote ventilation
    -Change the tampons and sanitary napkins every 4-8 hours. 
    -Avoid certain lubricants and spermicides. 
  • Consume lots of probiotics to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. 

Being a woman is always a pleasant experience but there are some other aspects of womanhood that can be rightly answered by a gynecologist.

In the case of recurrent vaginal infections, a female is suggested to consult a gynecologist to the soonest. Avoid self diagnosis and treatment as in order to permanently eliminate the infection, it is important to treat its underlying cause. Now that’s a gynecologist’s job. Visit a gynecologist to get permanent relief from vaginal infections and its symptoms. 

Also Read: Causes and Risk Factors Related to Vaginal Yeast Infection

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