We’ve all been here before. It starts with an uncomfortable itch.
And we are left wondering ‘Oh no, what is it this time?’. Vaginal infections are not fun or pleasant. After experiencing the first symptoms, we often spend the next few days hoping it will go away on its own. But you are not on your own. Vaginal infections are common, and whilst some do go away without treatment, it is best to seek treatment from your healthcare provider.
4 Common Vaginal Infections:
1. Urinary Tract Infection 💦
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection of any part of your urinary system. Your urinary system includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Whilst a UTI is not technically considered a vaginal infection, it is often confused with other vaginal infections. UTIs are more common in women because a woman’s urethra is shorter. This makes it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic pain (in women)
Symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea and vomiting may indicate that the UTI has progressed to your upper urinary tract. Please seek urgent medical care.
How can I prevent a UTI?
- Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water
- Wipe from front to back
- Urinate after sex
- Avoid feminine hygiene products that could cause irritation
How are UTIs treated?
UTI treatment depends on whether a UTI is bacterial, viral or fungal. Bacterial UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Viral UTIs are treated with antivirals. And fungal UTIs are treated with antifungals. It is also common for the healthcare provider to prescribe a pain relief medication to aid in the burning and discomfort experienced when urinating.
At Contro, you can book a consultation for UTI treatment with one of our Partner Doctors. They will review your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
2. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) 🦠
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are spread by sexual contact, and caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Bacterial infections can be cured and treated, and include chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Viral infections can be treated, but not cured and include genital herpes (HSV), human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and HIV.
What are the symptoms of STIs?
Many cases of STIs have mild or no symptoms. In women, these symptoms are easily confused for other vaginal infections such as UTIs, thrush and BV.
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- A rash
- Vaginal bleeding
- Itchy genitals or anus
- Lumps or bumps around your genitals or anus
- Blisters or sores around your genitals or anus
- Warts around your genitals or anus
It is important to get tested and treated if you suspect you have contracted an STI.
How can I prevent STIs?
- Use condoms correctly and consistently
- Limit the number of sexual partners
- Avoid sexual contact with infected individuals
- Get tested for STIs regularly
How are STIs treated?
Bacterial STIs are treated with antibiotics. Viral STIs are treated with antiretrovirals. Viral STIs will require ongoing treatment as they cannot be cured.
At Contro, you can book a consultation for STI treatment with one of our Partner Doctors. They will review your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
3. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) 💊
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal infection caused by the overgrowth of bacteria. This bacterial imbalance can often lead to vaginal discharge with a ‘fishy’ odour. Contracting BV is the most common during the reproductive years. Between the ages of 15 and 44 years old, the hormonal changes experienced make it so much easier for certain bacteria to grow. Doctors have also noted that BV is most common in individuals who are sexually active.
What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Grey or white vaginal discharge
- Vaginal discharge has a ‘fishy’ odour
- Itchiness and pain in the vulva
How can I prevent bacterial vaginosis?
- Use barrier methods such as condoms during sex
- Avoid feminine hygiene products that could affect your vaginal pH
How is bacterial vaginosis treated?
Treatment of BV includes prescribing antibiotics and other medications that are either in the form of creams, gels or pills.
4. Thrush 😺
Thrush is a fungal (yeast) infection that causes irritation, discharge and itchiness of the vagina and vulva. 3 out of every 4 individuals are affected by thrush at some point in their lifetimes. Thrush is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection.
What are the symptoms of thrush?
- The presence of an unusual, thick vaginal discharge (often comparable to cottage cheese)
- Itching and irritation experienced around the vagina
- Experiencing pain when urinating or having sex
How can I prevent thrush?
- Wear cotton underwear, to reduce moist conditions that may encourage bacterial growth
- Avoid using soaps or sprays in the genital area, as they can cause irritation
- Wash your hands before touching the vaginal area
- Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
- Wash the genital area with water only and also gently wipe the area dry
- Don’t have vaginal sex straight after anal sex
- Wash thoroughly after anal sex and use a new condom and water-based lubricant before engaging in vaginal sex
How is thrush treated?
Vaginal thrush is treated by prescription antifungal creams or vaginal suppositories that are placed inside the vaginal canal with an applicator. Healthcare providers may also prescribe the use of oral tablets.
At Contro, you can book a consultation for thrush treatment with one of our Partner Doctors. They will review your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
As a woman, it is important to educate yourself about these 4 common vaginal infections. This will help you prevent potential infections, spot potential infections quickly and get the correct treatment.
|| At Contro, we are here to help reduce the stigma around sexual health and help individuals access affordable, discreet and convenient treatment. Suspect you may have a vaginal infection? Book a consultation with one of our Partner Doctors and get your treatment delivered to your door.