Vaginal infections can leave you feeling uncomfortable and impact your daily routine. Most women experience periodic vaginal infections, but when should you see your gynecologist?
Types of Vaginal Infections
The term vaginal infection covers a wide variety of causes, many with similar symptoms. Some types of vaginal infections your gynecologist may check for include:
- Vaginal Yeast Infections are the result of an overgrowth of yeast, a fungus that lives naturally in the vagina in small levels.
- Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when the balance of bacteria is thrown off and “bad” bacteria overtakes the “good” bacteria.
- Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite and typically spreads through sexual contact.
Vaginal Infection Symptoms
Generally, changes in your vaginal discharge is one of the first symptoms of a vaginal infection. If you have a vaginal yeast infection, you may notice thick, white discharge that is odorless and resembles cottage cheese. For women suffering from bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, the discharge is typically gray, green or white with a foul odor.
Additional symptoms include itching and discomfort with urination and sex. You should share your symptoms with your gynecologist to help identify which vaginal infection you may be experiencing.
Reducing Your Risk of Vaginal Infections
Having multiple sexual partners increases your risk of vaginal infection. Using a condom can help reduce your risk of contracting a vaginal infection. In addition, you should keep your vaginal area clean with water and a gentle, unscented soap. Avoid douching, as it can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your vagina- leading to bacterial vaginosis and vaginal yeast infections.
Treating Vaginal Infections
Vaginal yeast infections can be easily treated with over-the- counter anti-fungal creams and vaginal suppositories. Mild yeast infections can clear up on their own in just a few days. Bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis will require a prescription from your gynecologist for an oral medication like metronidazole and tinidazole. If you are diagnosed with trichomoniasis, your gynecologist may recommend your sexual partner also be treated.
Speak with Dr. Nathan T. Thomas if you feel you are experiencing a vaginal infection.