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How to detect vaginal infections

Discussions on "How to detect vaginal infections" in "Gynaecology Problems" forum.

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    How to detect vaginal infections

    How to detect vaginal infections

    Vaginal infections mostly go undetected and untreated. In the long run, this can lead to more serious problems that affect overall health.

    Today, we take a look at the tell-tale signs of vaginal infections that you should not avoid. To help us go down this untrodden path is Dr. Indu Bala Khatri, Obstetrics and Gynaecologist from Moolchand Women's Hospital in New Delhi. She says, "It is quite normal and healthy for women of childbearing age to have a vaginal discharge. However, the quantity and color can vary during various stages of a woman's life like the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. But signs such as abnormal discharge which is thick and white, foul-smelling, or blood stained suggests possible infection and requires immediate medical attention."

    Common symptoms of vaginal infection

    Discharge, vulval itching

    Redness, swelling, lumps, blisters, sore spots or ulceration of the vulva (the skin around the outside of the vagina)

    Foul odour

    Painful intercourse

    Lower abdomen pain

    Bacterial vaginosis

    Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
    is one of the most commonly diagnosed vaginal infection causing vaginal discharge in women generally belonging to reproductive age. It causes foul odor sometimes accompanied by itching and burning. The root cause of the anomaly is believed to be imbalance of pH (acidity levels) inside the vagina, which leads to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Some people also refer to this condition as bacterial vaginitis and vaginal bactereosis.

    Symptoms -
    Most of the women suffering from bacterial vaginosis experience discharge of white, grey, yellowish or greenish color and may also experience some pain in the vaginal area. BV may further lead to infection of the bladder and the uthrera as well as skin infection around the vulva.

    If not treated timely then Bacterial vaginosis can raise some serious long-lasting problems and poses a threat to miscarriages, premature labour, cervicitis (at the uterus orifice) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

    - Frequent vaginal wash is advised which helps in reducing bacterial infection, along with any medication your gynecologist might prescribe.

    Vaginal fungal infection

    Vaginal fungal infection
    is another most commonly experienced infection by women. Yeast are always present in the vagina in small numbers but symptoms appear if there is an overgrowth. Several factors are associated with increased symptomatic infection in women, including pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, use of oral contraceptives and so on.

    Symptoms -
    The most frequent symptoms of yeast infection in women are itching, burning and irritation of the vagina. Painful urination and/or pain during intercourse are common. Vaginal discharge is not always present and may be minimal. The thick, whitish-gray discharge although can vary from watery to thick in consistency. Most male sexual partners of women with yeast infection do not experience any symptoms of the infection.

    Treatment -
    Various antifungal vaginal medications are available to treat yeast infection. Women can buy antifungal creams, tablets over the counter for use in the vagina. But because BV, trichomoniasis and yeast infection are difficult to distinguish, it is advisable to consult the doctor before using these products.

    Viral infection (Herpes simplex virus)

    Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
    is another vaginal infection which takes a five to seven day growing period before symptoms appear. In this type of infection painful ulcers develop on the genitals, which take around 2-3 weeks to heal. The virus may reappear from time to time. Recurrences tend to be milder and in one place. Ulcers heal in about 10 days. A person can infect others for about four days after the symptoms have gone away.

    Symptoms -
    When a woman is first infected, her symptoms may include feeling unwell, swollen lymph nodes in the groin and a fever that usually goes away in a week.

    - For the treatment of HSV a course of anti-viral drugs is prescribed. Since this infection can be transferred from male partners, the treatment of a woman's sexual partner in certain types of conditions is also advisable.

    Some healthy living tips

    There are some basic health practices, which can be followed to prevent vaginal infections:

    -Eat a healthy and nutritious diet

    -Drink plenty of fruits and fluids in the form of juices, soups, etc

    -Exercise daily, for at least 20-25 minutes

    -Keep the vaginal area as dry and clean as possible

    -Avoiding wearing tight fitting jeans and pants

    -Use cotton undergarments

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