Types Of Vaginal Infections
An inflammation of the vagina is known as vaginitis. Vaginitis is accompanied by pain, discharge, and itching. Inflammation can occur when there is a disruption of the natural balance of the vaginal bacteria. Sometimes vaginitis is due to an infection. As a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen stores undergo a gradual depletion. This too, can contribute to a state of vaginitis.
The four commonest types of vaginitis include:
*Bacterial vaginosis—If an organism in the vagina should begin to grow and multiply to the point where the natural balance of the vaginal flora is disturbed, this can result in a case of bacterial vaginosis.
*Yeast infection—When the fungus called Candida albicans begins to grow in the vagina, the result is a yeast infection. Three in every four women will develop a yeast infection at some point.
*Trichomoniasis—The result of a parasite, trichomoniasis is transmitted through sexual intercourse.
*Atrophic vaginitis—Estrogen is needed to maintain tissue integrity, but the hormone ceases production after menopause. The result is the thinning of the vaginal tissues which suffer from dryness, as well.
The symptoms of vaginitis include:
*Changes in the vaginal discharge (amount, color, and odor)
*Bacterial vaginosis comes with a grayish-white, fishy-smelling discharge
*Yeast infections come with severe itching and a thick, cottage cheese-like white discharge
*Trichomoniasis comes with a greenish-yellow, frothy discharge that resembles pus.
It can be tricky to figure out whether a given case of vaginitis requires medical attention. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:
*Your first time—you've never before had a vaginal infection. By visiting your doctor, you'll learn what has caused your infection and what can be done in terms of treatment.
*It's different—though you've had past infections there's something different about this one.
*New relationship—you have multiple sex partners or have a new partner along with symptoms of vaginitis. You need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), some of which can resemble vaginosis or yeast infection.
*You finished the treatment—You purchased and used an over-the-counter treatment for a yeast infection but you're still symptomatic.
However, if you've had at least one confirmed yeast infection in the past and you know you're having one now, you can try the OTC medication and if it works, all's well and good and you can skip the doctor's visit.