Most women experience vaginal problems at any time in their life. The three most common vaginal problems women deal with are vaginal yeast infections, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis.
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Yeast is the most frequent cause of vaginal infection. This sort of infection is caused by a fungus and affects the vagina and the surrounding vulvar area.
Three out of four women have at least one vaginal yeast infection during their lifetimes.
The symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include itching; a thick, white vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese; pain during sexual intercourse; redness; burning; soreness; swelling; and general vaginal irritation. Not every woman experiences each these symptoms.
Some women experience frequent yeast infections, so they are familiar with the signs and the course of treatment recommended for them. However, when this really is the first time you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to see your physician in order to find an official diagnosis and rule out other possibilities. You do not want to start treating yourself when there’s a chance your symptoms could indicate something else entirely. The treatment for a yeast infection will not heal an STI or bacterial vaginosis, putting you at risk for complications from those conditions.
Trichomoniasis is the most common curable sexually transmitted infection (STI). The period between exposure to trichomoniasis and the onset of symptoms could be anywhere from five to 28 days. While some women do not experience any symptoms, other women have signs like a yellowish-greenish vaginal discharge, a foul vaginal odor, pain during sexual intercourse, pain during urination, vaginal itching and general irritation and, in rare instances, pelvic pain.
Should you suspect you may have trichomoniasis, you should discontinue sexual intercourse and see your physician immediately. If your doctor diagnoses trichomoniasis, your sexual partner(s) should be diagnosed and receive treatment if needed. Sexual intercourse shouldn’t restart until both you and your partner are treated and symptom-free. When it isn’t treated, you’re at a greater risk of getting HIV if you are exposed.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most frequent cause of vaginal discharge in women during their reproductive years. It is not an infection. Instead, BV develops when the normal balance of bacteria which colonize from the vagina gets thrown off by overgrowth. Even though there is not a definitive answer about what causes BV, a few factors are known to raise your chance of contracting it, including using a new or multiple sexual partners, using vaginal douches, using an intrauterine device (IUD), and failure to practice safe sex by not using a condom during each act of sexual intercourse.
The most typical symptom of BV is a fish-like vaginal odor, in addition to a strange vaginal discharge that is white or gray and that may be watery or foamy.
A Word From Verywell
Be sure to discuss any vaginal discomfort and symptoms with your doctor in your regular checkup, even if they are minor.
For any bothersome symptoms, see your doctor to make certain you get the correct therapy.