Ever been through a situation that causes irritation or itching in your vagina? A burning sensation while you pee? Frequent urination or even inflammation in your vagina? Well, all these symptoms are of vaginal infections, also known as vaginitis, an infection that is fairly common in women. Initially, you might dismiss it for a minor infection that will treat itself and disappear in a few days. However, you need to be more cautious than that in such situations. While, at times, these can be cured with simple home remedies, at other times, it needs medical attention.
Vaginal infections can happen at any time of your life – mostly common during the reproductive years, or in the late teens to early 40s. One of the most common questions that one might ask is, “Is vaginal infection caused due to penetrative sex?” The answer to this question is a vehement “no”. Vaginal infection causes are not due to any type of sex. In short, vaginal infections are usually not the same as sexually transmitted diseases, other than a few exceptions. However, there could be a lot of other reasons that cause vaginal infections.
4 Types of Vaginal Infections – Their Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment
1. Yeast Infection
One of the most common types of vaginal infection is a yeast infection caused by a fungus known as candida. This fungus lives harmlessly in your body, usually causing sometimes no harm. But there are certain times that the overgrowth of candida can cause a vaginal infection.
Following are the reasons that might cause the overgrowth of candida in your vagina and cause irritation leading to vaginal yeast infections:
- Birth control pills or pregnancy
- High blood sugar
- Lower immunity
The symptoms of the vaginal yeast infection are as follows:
- Unusually thick white discharge
- Vaginal itching
- Redness of vulva
- Frequent urge to pee
- Burning sensation when you pee
The vaginal yeast infections are caused due to fungus and, therefore, the vaginal yeast infection treatment can easily be done with antifungal agents. Antifungal medications consumed orally can treat yeast infections. Consume a lot of water to treat yeast infections.
2. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Now that we are aware of the “yeast” infection caused due to candida, there are friendly bacteria that reside in our vagina called lactobacilli. There are times when the number of lactobacilli gets reduced or low – this situation can trigger a condition called bacterial vaginosis (BV).
The cause of Bacterial Vaginosis is the lack or overgrowth of lactobacilli.
- Thin grey or white discharge or slippery and clear
- A fishy-smelling odour from the vagina
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Itching of the vulva
One must consult a doctor for the vaginal infection bacterial vaginosis treatment. Usually, the doctor prescribes clindamycin for the treatment of BV.
As we had mentioned above, vaginal infections are different from sexually transmitted diseases. But here, we would like to clarify that trichomoniasis is the only vaginal infection that is sexually transmitted.
It is commonly called trick and the cause for such infection is a single-celled parasite – trichomonas vaginalis. This parasite is passed from the partner during sexual intercourse.
Although the cause of trichomoniasis is very different from those of other vaginal infections. The symptoms are more or less similar:
- Burning irritation
- Swelling or Redness of vulva
- Yellow-grey vaginal discharge
- The fishy odour of the vaginal discharge
Antibiotics are generally the most common treatment for this vaginal infection. A doctor will prescribe either metronidazole or tinidazole. Since it is a sexually transmitted infection, it is advised that you consult a doctor for accurate diagnosis.
4. Non-Infectious Vaginitis
Since we spoke about infections, it is also important to talk about non-infectious vaginitis.
It is typically caused due to irritants.
There are certain irritants that come in contact with the vagina might trigger an allergic reaction. The cause of irritation could be as follows:
- Sperm fluid
- Latex condoms
- Fragrances or any cosmetics
- Feminine hygiene products
- Non-cotton-based sanitary pads
- Personal hygiene products
- Bubble baths using bath bombs with high fragrances
- Nickel plated objects
- Douches that people do not dilute correctly
- Tight fitting and non-cotton underwear and lingerie
- Swelling and irritation of the vagina and vulva
- Flushing of the vagina and vulva
- Pain, burning, and stinging sensations on the vulva
6 Other Causes Of A Vaginal Infection
Sometimes, a healthy vagina might contain bacteria or yeasts without having any infections or inflammations. Certain environmental or food habits might irritate your vagina. This enables the overgrowth of yeast and causes the symptoms. These include:
- Rinsing of the vagina with water or liquid or soap
- Hormonal imbalances
- Vaginal Intercourse
- Consumption of antibiotics
- Excessive chocolate consumption
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
6 Preventive Tips For Vaginal Infections
The internet might be full of vaginitis treatments for vaginal infections – home remedies, do-it-yourself remedies. However, you must not take chances with vaginitis treatments. Why do we say so? Well, vaginal infections might seem to be a small issue, however, if not treated carefully, it can become a lifetime problem. It is also said that not all vaginal infections can be prevented, but there are ways and tips to reduce the chances of developing one in the long-run.
We have listed some of those below:
- Avoid using any high-fragrance, scented period products. These include – tampons, sanitary pads, and panty liners.
- Avoid douching. One of the leading causes of a vaginal infection. You must completely restrict the use of vaginal deodorants, any fragrances, or perfumes in the vagina.
- Bathe in plain water only. An optimum temperature should be maintained for the water. A bubble bath and scented body washes when comes in contact with the vagina might affect the required pH balance.
- There are chances that you might get these infections during intercourse. However, you must be careful while using sex toys. Always clean them after each use.
- Wear cotton underwears, which are clean, completely dry, and of a proper fitting. Avoid wearing tight underwear as it will block the air from passing, apart from causing irritation and chaffing. Change your underwear once every day and more than once, if you participate in activities like swimming and other fitness forms.
- Stick to underwear of a breathable material like cotton over synthetic ones.
Reading the above section, it must be clear that you need to look after your hygiene as much as possible. The more you avoid scented intimate products, the better it would be for your vagina.
Vaginal infections are very common, but you need to treat it within time to prevent it from getting aggravated. Do not try to take home remedies if the situation becomes serious. Avoiding doctor visits will help you in no way – to be honest, not even in saving money. So, take care of your vagina regularly and it will serve you well in the long-term.
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