Vaginal infections or vaginitis is inflammation of the vaginal wall caused by changes in the chemical balance of the vagina. The normal pH balance of the vagina is acidic which prevent infection from occurring. Other conditions can alter the normal pH balance causing the vagina to be less acidic and more susceptible to infections.
Symptoms associated with this infection include irritation of the vagina and vulva, unusual discharge, and unpleasant odor. There are three different types of vaginitis and these include candidiasis (yeast infections), bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis.
Candidiasis (Yeast Infections)
Candidiasis is commonly referred to as yeast infection is caused by yeastlike fungus called candida albicans. The fungus is present in the vagina in most women and it is harmless in the normal state. The normal state of the fungus can be alter by condition such as pregnancy, diabetes, or the use of birth control pill that can cause the yeast to overgrow and cause vaginal infections.
The use of oral antibiotics or spermicidal jellies and creams can also lead to yeast infection. The infection can also be transmitted from anus to vagina by wiping back-to-front and it can also be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and oral sex. The symptoms of yeast infection may include white clumpy discharge, itching and soreness of the vaginal and vulva tissues, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse.
Bacterial vaginosis is caused by bacterium called Gardnerella vaginalis. Transmission of this bacterium is not fully understood but it is believed the risk of transmitting the bacterium increase with sexual intercourse, having multiple sexual partners, smoking, and douching.
Most women usually experienced symptoms of foul-smell and thin discharge that is usually gray in color. Some may also experience discharge that are white, yellow or green in color. The amounts of discharge vary among women, usually when a woman experience excess amount of discharge than normal is considered to be abnormal. Some may also experience irritation in the genital area and mild burning during urination. Men who are infected may experience inflammation of the foreskin and glans of the penis, inflammation of the urethral tube, and bladder infection.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The infection is mainly transmitted through sexual contact.
Symptoms that are experience by most women may include white or yellow-green vaginal discharge, unpleasant odor, inflammation of the vagina and vulva, vaginal itching, and pain during urination. Infection from the vagina may also spread up the cervix and infect the urethra, bladder, or bartholin’s glands. Long term infection of the cervix may develop into cervical cancer.
Other Factors That May Cause Vaginal Infections
There are number of other factors that may also cause vaginal infections and these include diabetes, emotional stress, antibiotic use, hormonal changes, high carbohydrates diet, chemical irritants, intercourse without sufficient lubrication, and wearing nylon underwear and panty hose. The changes in the chemical balance of the vagina during menstrual flow can also increases the risk of yeast infection.
There are over-the-counter drug treatments for treating vaginal infections and there are also numerous ways to treat and prevent the infection without the use of drug. The nondrug treatment and prevention involve adequate sleep, routine exercise, balanced diet, good hygiene, wearing clean cotton underwear, avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, and using sufficient lubrication before intercourse.
Women who are at risk of yeast infections after menstruation can minimize the risk by
in 1 liter of warm water with two tablespoons of white vinegar once the
flow has ceased. Avoid too frequent douching as this can alter vaginal
chemical balance and increases the risk of other infection.
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