We all desire to stay healthy and this requires awareness and protection in many situations. Taking into consideration that sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most dangerous ones, protecting yourself during sexual intercourses and concentrating on maintaining your proper genital hygiene is crucial.
However, many people experience genital infections due to many different reasons. When the vagina or the vaginal area get infected, the condition is called vaginitis, resulting in inflammations, discharge, unpleasant smell, irritation or itching, among some other signs and symptoms, depending on the type of disease affecting this part of the female body.
Problems with the Female Genital Organ
Typically, the female reproductive organ creates its own healthy environment and does not need any special kind of intervention when it comes to balancing the bacteria which are supposed to be found in the area. Also, the vagina deals with the hormonal changes typical for women without any problems.
Yet, once the ecosystem of the vagina gets affected abnormally, due to factors such as exposure to antibiotics, hormonal variations or usage of contraception of certain types, as well as douches, certain types of vaginal medications, the sexual intercourse itself, STDs, frequent changing of partners and even stress, the inflammation and infections may affect the vaginal area, leading to vaginitis.
Usually, yeast infections are not related to sexual intercourse, while all other types can be. On the other hand, occurrences such as trauma in young girls or menopause in older women, both are situations which can trigger vaginitis too.
Depending on the type of vaginal infections, the treatment and the symptoms themselves all may vary.
Nevertheless, three types of vaginal infections are considered to be the most common ones. These are bacterial vaginosis, vaginal yeast infection and trichomoniasis.
Due to the frequency of these types of diseases, they are commonly mistaken for one another and it is not rare that a woman applies the wrong kind of treatment, making matters worse or finding no relief for her condition. In fact, 70% of all women treat their vaginal infections by themselves before contacting a health provider. Also, in a vast majority of cases, they believe that they are suffering from a yeast infection when, actually, they face bacterial vaginosis.
As far as signs of vaginal infections are concerned, these can usually be recognized without problems, making it possible for a woman to see that something is wrong and seek medical assistance timely.
Basically, lumps can be a sign, appearing in the wall of the vagina or the base of it. Know that this sort of occurrence is not considered normal and react on time once you notice something like this. There are great chances that this growth may be a Bartholin's cyst, being a pea-sized glandular obstruction, blocking the supply of hormones to the vagina. Minor surgical interventions are necessary for dealing with this condition.
On the other hand, herpes simplex virus can trigger bumps and vesicles, especially if the area evolves into a crust, producing discharge. Rarely, the lumps can be a sign of cancer.
Another sign of vaginal infection is the presence of discharge. Namely, even though producing discharge is common during menstrual periods or sexual arousal, some other conditions may lead to this occurrence. For example, trapped tampons or foreign bodies may lead to discharge from the vagina. Alternatively, bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis can result in this too. Yet, as far as sexually transmitted diseases are concerned, the most common causes of unhealthy vaginal discharge are gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. In these cases, the discharge is bound to be greenish, yellow, white or purulent, resembling pus, comparing to a normal vaginal discharge that is clear or whitish in color, somewhat yellow when it dries.
Finally, sores can be present in the vaginal area, due to an infection taking place. These happen once the membrane of the vaginal wall gets damaged. Ulcers and traumas are most commonly behind this, appearing once a person gets raped or due to the friction of clothing or tampon misuse. If syphilis is triggering the ulcer, the growth is bound to be painless with elevated edges, appearing on the inside of the vagina.
Overall, many patients refuse to seek medical assistance due to shame or some other factors of this type. However, timely treatment is necessary for prevention of any escalations of these infections.
Viral Infection is the Most Common
In about 50% of cases bacterial vaginitis is the reason behind the vaginal infection. This condition is trigger by disturbances in the vaginal ecosystem typically being present inside the female sexual organ. Usually, frequent douching, using an intrauterine device or being pregnant are conditions which increase one's proneness to this type of infection. Also, changing your sexual partners often may be the culprit. However, one cannot get infected from sharing toilet seats or bedding and from using swimming pools.
Among viral causes of vaginal diseases herpes simplex virus is the most common one, being sexually transferred most of the times.
All in all, there are many cases of vaginal diseases, triggered by many different factors, predominantly, hormonal changes and bacterial, viral or yeast infections. It is very important to notice the symptoms of vaginal infections timely and treat these problems before they get worse.
So, contact your health provider as soon as you spot some abnormal changes in the behavior of your vagina.