Testing and treatment for vaginal infections
Often inconvenient yet rarely serious, vaginal infections still require testing and treatment to avoid complications.
Types of vaginal infections
There are two types of vaginal infections: vaginitis (also called “candidiasis” or “yeast infection”), caused by a yeast called Candida albicans, and bacterial vaginosis.
- A vaginal yeast infection occurs when the Candida albicans fungus proliferates. Symptoms include intense itchiness, a burning sensation, and a rash or swelling around the vulva. You may notice thick, sticky discharge that is odourless, with a cottage cheese-like texture.
- Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include increased vaginal discharge that is milky and has an unpleasant, fishy odour.
Tips for optimal vaginal health
- Wear white cotton underwear.
- Wash the area with a hypoallergenic or fragrance-free bar of mild soap, and ask your partner to do the same if you are having unprotected sex.
- Use latex-free and spermicide-free condoms.
- Wipe from front to back (away from the vagina) after using the toilet.
- Remove damp clothing or a damp bathing suit promptly.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing made of synthetic fibres. Choose loose clothing instead, made from natural fibers that “breathe”.
- Avoid hot baths—especially long, hot ones—bubble baths, soaps containing fragrance, douches, and vaginal deodorizers, as they can disrupt the pH of the vagina.
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar.