Vaginal Infections

Vaginal infections are sometimes difficult to recognize because they can cause similar symptoms. If you are experiencing vaginal discomfort, such as itching, burning, redness or abnormal discharge, you should be examined by your doctor. He or she can perform tests to determine the type of infection you have and the best way to treat it.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a condition in which the normal balance of “good” bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria. BV is the most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
  • Burning during urination
  • Redness, itching and swelling around the outside of the vagina

Some women with BV may have no signs or symptoms.

Treatment: The primary goal in treating BV is to relieve vaginal symptoms and signs of infection. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic and/or a vaginal cream. Make sure you take all of the pills or use all of the cream in order to prevent a recurrence.

Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

Yeast infections are caused by one of several types of fungus known as Candida, which may be found in small numbers in the normal vagina as well as in the mouth and digestive tract. Candidiasis is the second most common vaginal infection.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • An odorless, white, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge
  • Itching, redness and swelling of the external genitals

Male sex partners may develop a rash on the penis.

Treatment: Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to collect vaginal samples for examination under a microscope. He or she will then prescribe an antibiotic and/or a vaginal cream. Although over-the-counter medications are available, it is important to see your doctor to make sure you have a yeast infection and not some other condition. Male partners should get tested and treated by their health care providers.

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