The Institute for Women's Health

As a woman, there’s a high probability you will get a vaginal infection (vaginitis) at some point in your lifetime. Don’t worry, it’s more common than you think and there’s usually a misconception about the types of infections and what causes them. Generally speaking, you will get symptoms like itching, burning, and a thick white discharge. But there’s so much more you should know about this common condition.

The first thing to keep in mind is that whenever you have some of these symptoms or you just have general inquiries about this matter, you should always talk to your OB/GYN  – who is fully qualified to answer any of your questions and treat any of your symptoms. Not even a thorough Internet research will ever substitute the quality and preciseness of the information you get from an experienced specialist. You should immediately call your doctor if:

  • Your vaginal discharge changes color or smells different.
  • You notice itching, burning, swelling, or soreness around or outside of your vagina.
  • It burns when you pee.
  • Sex is uncomfortable.

The most common kind of infections faced by women are yeast infections. They are easy to treat and are very similar to other vaginal and sexually transmitted infections. Nevertheless, there are more serious infections that could lead to major problems. But what causes yeast infections? Well, you should know that a healthy vagina has a balanced amount of bacteria and yeast in it, but sometimes this balance can be disrupted by:

  • Hormone level changes
  • Antibiotics
  • Vaginal intercourse
  • Pregnancy and breast feeding

The three most common types of vaginal infections are:

  • Yeast Infections: It is  caused by one of the many species of fungus known as Candida, which we already have living in our bodies in small numbers. This fungus can quickly multiply and cause a vaginal infection in a moist and low ventilation environment.
  • Bacterial vaginosis: When the number of lactobacilli in your reproductive organs gets too low, it can trigger a condition called bacterial vaginosis (BV). You may see a thick whitish discharge or a slippery and clear discharge. It is not likely that it will itch or burn, but the fishy odor it produces may be noticeable, especially during intercourse.
  • Trichomonas: This infection is commonly called “trich” and is passed from partner to partner during intercourse. You may feel burning, irritation, redness, and swelling of the vulva, with a yellow-gray or greenish vaginal discharge, possibly with a fishy odor.

The good news is that most of these conditions respond very well to mild treatment. The key is to get medical attention as soon as the first symptoms appear to minimize the discomfort they produce. If you have any additional questions please schedule an appointment by visiting The Institute For Women’s  Health.