Different types of bacteria naturally live inside the vagina. They produce acid that helps to fight off other bacteria as well as fungi and viruses that do not normally live in the vagina. Anything that decreases the acidity of the vagina can cause vaginal infections. Needless to say, vaginal infections are common and treatable.
Here are some of the common vaginal infections that women may experience:
This is the most common cause of vaginal discharge especially in women of childbearing age. It’s caused when lactobacillus (bacteria normally found in the vagina) are overgrown by others. Some women with bacterial vaginosis have a thin and grey discharge that has a fishy smell. Sometimes, the vagina burns and itches. Some women, however, don’t experience having any symptoms.
This vaginal infection is caused by a kind of parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis which is transmitted during intercourse. It has a characteristic symptom of heavy, frothy, yellow-green, foul-smelling discharge from the vagina. It can cause discomfort during sex, pain when urinating, vaginal itching as well as occasional stomach pains. Some women also don’t experience any symptoms.
Almost all women have Candida albicans (fungus) growing on and in their body harmlessly. However, a change in the vaginal environment can cause it to grow excessively, causing thrush (vaginal candidiasis). A woman suffering from thrush might have irritation and soreness of the vulva. It sometimes is accompanied by a thick, white vaginal discharge that does not smell.
This is the sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis which destroys the cells of the lining of the cervix as well as other tissues. A woman who has chlamydia might suffer from pain when urinating, bleeding after intercourse, long-term pelvic pain and infertility. It does not always produce an abnormal discharge.
This infection is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoea and is also passed on during sexual intercourse. Its main symptoms include vaginal discharge and painful urination. During its early stages, a woman might not experience any symptoms.
This infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus which is passed on during sexual intercourse. If you have this virus, it can lie dormant in your body for the rest of your life and it is common to get repeated attacks of genital herpes. The repeated attacks are generally milder than the first attacks.
If you are having vaginal discomforts, it is best to seek a medical professional’s help immediately.