From yeast infections to stringy discharge, The Doctors and The Real Housewives of Miami star Joanna Krupa are getting real about one of the most important body parts of all: the vagina! Learn the facts about vaginal discharge, infections and odors.
Health Risks with Thongs
• Yeast infections
A vaginal yeast infection is a type of vaginitis — inflammation of the vagina — characterized by vaginal irritation, intense itchiness and vaginal discharge. A vaginal yeast infection affects your vagina and the tissues at the opening to your vagina, or vulva. When you wear thongs, extra moisture can build up due to the tight fit.
• Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation that results from the overgrowth of one of several types of bacteria normally present in the vagina, upsetting the natural balance of vaginal bacteria. Extra bacteria usually manifests itself as increased discharge. The increase in discharge leads to increased use of pantyliners. Pantyliners lead to trapped moisture, which can increase the risk of infections and discharge.
• Skin Tags
A skin tag is a small piece of skin, which may have a peduncle (stalk). They can appear on any part of the surface of the body. Skin tags can develop on the vulva and near the rectum, when you wear thongs.
- Vaginal discharge serves an important housekeeping function in the female reproductive system.
- Fluid made by glands inside the vagina and cervix carries away dead cells and bacteria. This keeps the vaginal area clean and helps prevent infection.
- Most of the time, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal.
- The amount can vary, as can odor and hue. It's color can range from clear to milky white, depending on the time in your menstrual cycle. For example, there will be more discharge if you are ovulating, breastfeeding or are sexually aroused. The smell may be different if you are pregnant or you haven't been diligent about your personal hygiene. None of these changes should be cause for alarm.
- If the color, smell or consistency seems significantly unusual, however, or if it is accompanied by itching or burning, you could be noticing an infection or other condition.
Causes of Vaginal Imbalance:
- Any change in the vagina's balance of normal bacteria can affect the smell, color or discharge texture.
- A few examples of things that can upset the balance:
1. Antibiotic or steroid use
2. Bacterial vaginosis: A bacterial infection more common in pregnant women or women who have multiple sexual partners.
3. Birth control pills
4. Cervical cancer
5. Chlamydia or gonorrhea
7. Douches, scented soaps or lotions, bubble bath
8. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
9. Trichomoniasis: A parasitic infection typically contracted through unprotected sex
10. Vaginal atrophy: The thinning and drying out of the vaginal walls during menopause
11. Vaginitis: Irritation in or around the vagina
12. Yeast infections
- Yeast infection: A white, curdlike discharge that looks like cottage cheese is a classic sign. Itching is usually most noticable with this type of infection.
- Trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis: Yellow, green or gray discharge is usually a sign. Also, an unusual, fishy odor.
- Atrophic vaginitis: A dry, irritated vaginal lining, which may be particularly uncomfortable or painful during intercourse, is usually a more prominent symptom of this type of inflammation.
- Gonorrhea or chlamydia: A new vaginal discharge accompanied by fever, abdominal pain or pain during intercourse may indicate a sexually-transmitted disease. Gonorrhea and chlamydia, however, usually do not cause any symptoms at all.
- Your doctor can work with you to identify whatever led to your symptoms, such as:
1. Antibiotic use
2. Wearing non-cotton underwear
3. Wearing tight-fitting undergarments during exercise
4. Using scented products that irritate the vaginal lining or using birth control pills
- If you use birth control pills, you may not need to stop using them to prevent a recurrent infection.
- Changing the type or the strength of the hormone in the pill may be enough to stop symptoms from returning.
- If you are diabetic, controlling blood sugar levels may help to avoid recurrent infections, especially yeast infections.
- Oral antibiotics
- Antibiotic cream or gel, particularly for external irritation, will sometimes be prescribed. Vaginal cream can be more soothing for the inflamed, sore vaginal lining.
- If you are diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic called metronidazole.
- If your doctor suspects that you have a sexually transmitted disease, based on your sexual history and a physical examination, you may be given antibiotics by injection and by mouth in the office before the test results can confirm the diagnosis.
- Over-the-counter antifungal creams for recurrent yeast infections
- If your symptoms do not improve, see your doctor for an exam to confirm the diagnosis and change the treatment.
- Hormone replacement therapy for atrophic vaginitis
- Vaginal administration exposes you to lower levels of hormones
- For mild cases of atrophic vaginitis, using a water-based lubricant may be enough.