Your vagina is a tender place. Sometimes, with improper hygiene down there or not using condoms during sex, the vagina may contract infections. A study by National Center for Biotechnology Information found 15% of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) with vaginal infections. The most common were candidal vaginitis (8%) and bacterial vaginosis (3%) followed by trichomoniasis (2%). If you notice signs of vaginal concerns, consider visiting the best gynecologist in Hyderabad for early diagnosis and treatment. Here is everything to know about the common reasons for vaginal infections.
5 Main Causes of Vaginal Infections
#1: Candidal Vaginitis
Also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis, this vaginal infection occurs due to Candida, a yeast (a kind of fungus). Women of reproductive age mostly develop this infection. Candida usually harmlessly lives inside your body, including the vagina. But, if the environment ‘down there’ changes to favor its growth, the yeast can multiply, leading to an infection.
Around 75% of women experience at least 1 episode of this vaginal infection, and 40%–45% undergo 2 or more episodes, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Signs may include:
- Thick, white vaginal discharge
- Vaginal soreness or itching
- Vulval redness
- Discomfort or pain during urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
#2: Bacterial Vaginosis
This kind of bacterial vaginal infection is most common in women of reproductive age (especially, 30-40 years). Harmless bacteria named lactobacilli live in your vagina. When its levels fall too low for reasons unknown, infection-causing bacteria (usually, Gardnerella) may replace the lactobacilli and overgrow in your vagina. This causes bacterial vaginosis.
Sometimes, this infection has no signs. Else you may notice:
- Slippery and clear, or thick, whitish vaginal discharge
- A fishy odor, mainly during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal itching and burning (sometimes)
This common sexually transmitted infection (STI) due to a protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis affects the vagina of women aged 14-59. Not using condoms during sexual intercourse and having multiple sex partners can act as risk factors.
You may have no symptoms or experience:
- Greenish or yellow-gray vaginal discharge
- Pain during urination and sexual intercourse
- Cervical inflammation
- Vaginal irritation, inflammation, itching, and burning
- Vulval inflammation
- Vaginal odor, possibly fishy
#4: Chlamydial Vaginitis
This sexually transmitted disease is caused by the bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, and can lead to infection in your vagina. Women aged 18-35 years, especially 20-24 years, mostly develop this infection due to having multiple sex partners. Chlamydial infections frequent 10 times more than gonococcal ones in young adult females, says the US Preventive Services Task Force. Hence, routine chlamydia screening is important for sexually active women of any age. For this, you may see the best gynecologist in Hyderabad.
Symptoms may include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (not for all women)
- Bleeding after vaginal intercourse, between periods, and/or during urination (if infection advances beyond your vagina and cervix)
It’s another common sexually contracted vaginal infection and caused by the bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhea. With gonorrhea, you’re more prone to be infected with sexually transmitted HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Gonorrhea occurs in sexually active women of the same age group as chlamydia. Hence, having one of these infections may often mean developing the other too. Likewise, if you’ve been tested positive for one, it’s best to receive treatment for the second infection also.
You may often develop no signs of gonorrhea or experience:
- Abnormal or an increased vaginal discharge
- Pain during vaginal sex and urination
- Irregular periods
- Frequent urge to urinate
Certain STIs like gonorrhea must be treated early to prevent infertility. So, visit a hospital where you’re checked for such conditions to rule out any impediments to fertility. Then you can opt for normal delivery in Hyderabad.