Does your vagina feel itchy? Have you noticed a difference in your discharge lately? Do you have a burning sensation when you pee or have sex? Or maybe you've sensed an odour coming from your vagina. Believe it or not, many women across various ages experience these problems. Fortunately, there are solutions for bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections. But how do you know if it is BV or a yeast infection? Keep reading.
How Common is Bacterial Vaginosis and Yeast Infections?
According to the CDC, BV is the most common type of vaginal inflammation (29.2%) among women between 14 and 49 in the U.S. Yeast infection also affects 3 out of 4 women at least once in their lifetime.
Bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections are both common forms of vaginal inflammation or vaginitis. Almost all women experience at least one form of vaginitis once in their lives. These conditions are no cause for concern and are easy to treat.
How Can I Tell If I Have Vaginitis?
The best way to self-diagnose vaginal inflammation is to look for the symptoms. Generally, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis have the following symptoms:
- Pain, itching, and swelling in the vagina
- A burning sensation, especially when urinating or having intercourse
- A rash and redness of the vulva
- A foul smell after sex (penetrative vaginal sex)
- An unusual white discharge
How Can I Differentiate BV and Yeast Infections?
The differences between the two are often in the causes and symptoms.
- For BV, the discharge is thin white or gray, while for yeast infections, the discharge is thick, white with a curdled consistency (like cottage cheese).
- BV rarely causes inflammation and swelling on the vulva. If you notice redness and swelling, you most probably have a yeast infection.
- Bacterial vaginosis is more uncomfortable than painful. Yeast infections often cause pain during sex or urination.
- BV causes a strong fishy odour even without sex. However, the odour increases in intensity, especially after sex or during menstruation. Yeast infections do not have a specific type of odour.
- BV is a bacterial infection, while yeast infection is a fungal infection.
Are BV and Yeast Infections STDs?
BV and yeast infections are not sexually transmitted diseases. They occur due to imbalances in the vaginal flora or micro-organisms in your vagina. However, sex increases the chances of developing a pH imbalance. When you have unprotected sex with a person, they transfer bacteria to your vagina, which may cause an infection. Having sex with multiple partners also increases the risk of developing vaginitis.
Are BV and Yeast Infections the Same Things?
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
BV is a bacterial infection. The vagina has bacteria that lives in a healthy vagina. However, sometimes, the balance between good and harmful bacteria is disrupted, causing an infection. BV occurs when there is too much of one bacteria and anything that causes a bacterial imbalance in your vagina causes BV. The key is to avoid common causes to prevent BV.
- Sex: While BV is not an STD, having penile-vaginal sex increases the chances of developing BV. Intercourse, especially without a condom, introduces new bacteria to your vagina and changes the pH. Semen also alters the pH of your vagina. Having multiple sex partners further increases the risk of pH imbalance or introduction of new bacteria, hence BV.
- Douching: Douching or cleaning the vagina with external agents not intended for the vaginal area are a few of the most common causes of BV. The use of cleaning agents may strip away useful bacteria (affecting the pH) or introduce harmful ones, which causes BV. We recommend the use of GynaFresh VW feminine hygiene wash that women can trust as daily routine wash. The product was formulated to suit women hygiene concerns for this intimate and delicate area.
- Sudden changes in hormones: Conditions such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause may affect the pH balance in the vagina, causing BV.
- Incorrect condom use: While using condoms during sex reduces BV risk, if misused, condoms can encourage BV development. Once you or your partner have the condom on, use approved silicone-based and water-based lubes. Avoid using baby oil, petroleum jelly, and other oil-based products because they cause condom breakage.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis is a fungal infection of the vagina. It causes itchiness, swelling, redness, and cottage cheese-like discharge. Candida is part of the natural flora in your vagina. However, when there is a pH imbalance, the fungus overgrows, causing a yeast infection. Several factors increase your chances of developing a yeast infection.
- Low immunity: When your immune system is weakened due to infection, your body cannot retain fungal balance, which causes a yeast infection.
- Medication: Medicines such as antibiotics, hormonal therapy, and hormonal contraceptives cause yeast infections.
- Diet: Consuming lots of starch and sugar in your foods raises your blood sugar, which increases the risk of getting a yeast infection.
- Conditions: Having medical conditions such as diabetes that increase your blood sugar levels increases the risk of yeast infection.
- Hormonal changes: Changes that cause hormonal imbalances, such as pregnancy, increase the risk of yeast infection.
How Can I Treat Bacterial Vaginosis or Yeast Infection?
It can be challenging to tell the difference between BV and a yeast infection. It's advisable to visit a healthcare provider for a check-up. Once the doctor confirms the type of infection, you can treat it appropriately.
BV is treatable with over-the-counter products such as GynaGyn BV. Gynagyn BV is a combination of Lactic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid and Rosemary oil extract that has proven efficacy in the treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis and the associated symptoms. Gynagyn BV also restores and maintains the normal acidic vaginal pH (< 4.5) which prevents overgrowth of pathogens. Take GynaGyn BV as prescribed to fight the infection fully. If your symptoms persist after consuming medication, visit your doctor for a thorough exam.
Yeast Infection Treatment
You can treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter antifungals. Common treatments include suppository creams (creams you apply on the vagina) or fluconazole taken orally. If you have a recurring yeast infection, your doctor may recommend stronger medication.
It's crucial to complete the medicine as prescribed. During your treatment, avoid having penetrative vaginal sex or inserting items that could introduce infections. You can count on Gynagyn for BV treatments. Our range of clinically proven vaginal health products helps you treat your infection and relieve symptoms quickly.