Vaginal health is also important just like your overall health. Ongoing vaginal health problems can cause relationships or stress problems and impact your self-confidence. It can affect your desire for sex, fertility, and the ability to reach orgasm. Inflammation of the vagina, or Vaginal infections and vaginitis, are very common that most women will experience one or the other, and likely both, during their lifetime. Symptoms of vaginal infection or vaginitis may include vaginal itching, discharge, pain, burning, and a strong odor. 

A normal, healthy vagina contains some bacteria and sometimes yeast without having an infection, but yeast or bacterial overgrowth and causes symptoms of infection. These may include, taking antibiotics, Douching or rinsing the vagina with water or other liquid, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, female hormone level changes, and vaginal intercourse. 

There are three very common types of vaginal infections that most of the women experience, let’s have a look at them: 

Yeast infections

A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes discharge, irritation, and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva, the tissues at the vaginal opening. It is irritating and uncomfortable. This infection is caused by one of the many types of fungus known as candida. Normally, candida lives harmlessly in our body in small amounts, including in the vagina. But under certain conditions, an overgrowth of candida can cause a vaginal infection. 

Those conditions might include hormone level changes due to menstruation or birth control pills. Some other conditions that increase the risk of vaginal yeast infections include having chronic or frequent high blood sugar and having lowered immunity. Symptoms of a yeast infection may include a thick, white discharge, redness of the vulva, and vaginal itching. 

Trichomoniasis

This infection is caused by a parasite and spread through unprotected sex. In women, it can cause a genital itching, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, and painful urination. It is the most common curable STD. Trichomoniasis signs and symptoms for women include genital redness, burning, itching, pain with urination or sexual intercourse, and often foul-smelling vaginal discharge which might be gray, white, green, or yellow. 

It can be treated with medication. Older women are more infected than younger women with trichomoniasis. Some of the risk factors may include having sex without a condom, multiple sexual partners, previous episodes of trichomoniasis, and a history of other sexually transmitted infections. 

Bacterial Vaginosis 

In women, it is the most common cause of vaginal discharge during their reproductive years. Typically, it occurs when there is more harm than good bacteria in the vagina. Along with yeast, a bacteria that lives in the vagina is called lactobacilli and when the number of lactobacilli gets too low, it can trigger a condition called bacterial vaginosis. 

While there is not a definitive cause of it, a few factors are known to increase your risk of contracting it, including having new or multiple sexual partners, using vaginal douches, being pregnant, having an intrauterine device (IUD), and sex with a condom. Some of the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis may include a fish-like vaginal odor. Vaginal itching or irritation, burning when urinating, abnormal vaginal discharge that’s gray or white and that can be either watery or foamy.

Discuss your vaginal discomfort and symptoms with your consultant doctor at your regular checkups, even if they’re minor. For any clarification or irritating abnormal symptoms, see your doctor right away to ensure you get the correct treatment promptly.