Vaginal infections

There are many types of vaginal infections, but how do you know if you have an infection and what causes them?

There are many different types of vaginal infections. It is normal for every woman to have a vaginal discharge. This discharge keeps your vagina clean and moist. Normal discharge has a mild odour and should be clear or white. When it dries it may leave a yellowish colour on your underclothes. You may have a few days of heavy, clear, slippery discharge about halfway between your periods. This occurs when your ovary releases a ripe egg.

Signs of vaginal infection are a change in vaginal discharge, an itching or burning around the vagina, pain during intercourse, chills or fever, abdominal pain or cramping, sores or warts near the vaginal opening or burning when you urinate.

If you develop any of these signs, you need to see a doctor right away. Your doctor will do an exam to find out the type of infection you have.

Ways to prevent infection:

  • Keep yourself clean and dry. Shower daily and wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
  • Keep healthy. Eat well-balanced meals. Get plenty of rest. Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid irritating chemicals such as douching products, bubble baths and hygiene sprays.
  • Do not wear tight fitting underpants and clothing.
  • Use condoms (rubbers) to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Common types of vaginal infection are:

    Trichomonas

    Trichomonas is an infection caused by a parasite called trichomonas vaginitis. It is sexually transmitted. It can also be passed from person to person on wash cloths, towels, bathing suits, or almost any moist object. You may have vaginal bleeding. Intercourse may be painful. You may have difficulty urinating. Both partners must be treated with medicine.

    Monilia

    Monilia is caused by a yeast-like fungus called monilia albicons. It is more commonly known as candida. The discharge is thick and white and looks like cottage cheese. The odour is strong but not unpleasant.

    Bacterial

    A bacterial infection is due to various bacteria. One of the most common is called Gardenella Vaginalis. The discharge is a watery, gray or yellow colour, heavy and foul smelling.

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