In the United States, vaginal infections are one of the most common reasons women see their doctor, accounting for millions of visits each year. Vaginal infections are caused by microorganisms, but women can take precautions, such as wearing loose, absorbent underwear, to reduce their risk of getting infections. Doctors examine a sample of fluids from the vagina or cervix to check for microorganisms that can cause infections. Bacterial vaginosis. Trichomonas vaginitis. Yeast infections candidiasis. Vaginal infections can cause vaginal discharge , discomfort, and vaginal odor.
A discharge from the vagina may occur normally or may result from inflammation of the vagina vaginitis due to an infection. The genital area vulva —the area around the opening of the vagina—may also be inflamed. Depending on the cause of the discharge, other symptoms are often also present. They include itching, burning, irritation, redness, and sometimes pain during urination and sexual intercourse.
The Dry Ideal
Most women will have a vaginal infection, characterized by discharge, itching, or odor, during their lifetime. With the availability of complementary and alternative therapies and over-the-counter medications for candidiasis, many symptomatic women seek these products before or in addition to an evaluation by a medical provider. Obtaining a medical history alone has been shown to be insufficient for accurate diagnosis of vaginitis and can lead to the inappropriate administration of medication. Therefore, a careful history, examination, and laboratory testing to determine the etiology of vaginal symptoms are warranted. Information on sexual behaviors and practices, gender of sex partners, menses, vaginal hygiene practices e. The three diseases most frequently associated with vaginal discharge are BV replacement of the vaginal flora by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria including Prevotella sp. Cervicitis can also cause an abnormal discharge. Although vulvovaginal candidiasis VVC is usually not transmitted sexually, it is included in this section because it is frequently diagnosed in women who have vaginal symptoms or are being evaluated for STDs. Various diagnostic methods are available to identify the etiology of an abnormal vaginal discharge.
Vaginal itching pruritus , discharge, or both result from infectious or noninfectious inflammation of the vaginal mucosa vaginitis , often with inflammation of the vulva vulvovaginitis. Symptoms may also include irritation, burning, erythema, and sometimes dysuria and dyspareunia. Symptoms of vaginitis are one of the most common gynecologic complaints. Some vaginal discharge is normal, particularly when estrogen levels are high. Estrogen levels are high in the following situations:.