What causes a vaginal infection?
Vaginal infections occur because the delicate balance of the vaginal ecosystem has been altered in some way. Your vagina's natural balance can be disturbed by antibiotics, steroids, hormones, sexual intercourse, injury to the vagina or even soaking in a tub or harsh soaps or bath salts. Pregnancy, diabetes, nervousness, illness, fatigue and poor diet may increase your risk of a vaginal infection.
There are four common types of
Bacterial (Gardnerella vaginalis)
Presents with a minimally-irritating, grey-white discharge which has an unpleasant 'fishy' odour.
Fungal (Candida albicans or thrush)
This causes a thick, white non-malodourous discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese and is accompanied by itching, swelling and redness of the vaginal tissues.
Protozoan (Trichomonas vaginalis)
Produces a foamy, greenish-yellow discharge, which has an unpleasant odour and may cause vaginal itching and painful urination.
Unfortunately, you can also suffer from a combination of the above infections.
Is it possible to have more than
one type of infecton?
Yes, a woman can have more than one infection at the same time, so do not try and diagnose it yourself. A microscopic examination of the discharge and a pelvic examination by a doctor is the only way that an accurate diagnosis may be made.
How could you get an infection?
The micro-organisms which cause some types of vaginal infections can be present in the vagina without any sign of infection. Indeed, a variety of bacteria, micro-organisms and yeast co-exist naturally in the vagina's mildly acidic environment. But then the normal vaginal balance is upset by external or internal infections, the bacteria or fungi may grow out of control and cause vaginal infections.
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