Vaginal infections can be unpleasant, painful and stressful, especially when you’re unsure about what kind of infection it is. The truth is, there are lots of different types of vaginal infections that you could develop, and each one is determined by the kind of bacteria, fungus, parasite or virus that is growing in your vagina. Some are easy to get rid of, while others are more difficult.
Do I have a vaginal infection?
How do you know if you have a vaginal infection and what kind of infection it is? You can usually tell by the symptoms you’re experiencing. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common symptoms of each kind of infection to help you identify which one you may have. Remember, you should always seek a professional opinion if you believe you have an infection, so book an appointment with your doctor.
Bleeding between periods and pain during sex
If you are experiencing pain during sex or when you go for a wee, or you’re bleeding irregularly in between periods, you may have Chlamydia. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. According to Bupa, around seven out of 10 women don’t experience any symptoms of this infection. This is why it’s so important to have regular STI tests, particularly when you change sexual partners. If left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to further health problems, such as infertility and problems in pregnancy.
Fishy smelling, grey discharge
If the above describes your symptoms, then you may have Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). BV is a bacterial infection that’s caused by an imbalance of the bacteria in your vagina. It isn’t considered an STI, but regularly changing sexual partners can trigger it and it can be passed between female sexual partners. You may also contract BV if you smoke, use scented products around the vaginal area or have an intrauterine device (IUD) fitted.
Vaginal itching and thick white discharge
These symptoms tend to be signs of a yeast infection, or Thrush. Thrush is caused by an excess amount of yeast in the vagina. You may be experiencing soreness, itchiness and irritation around your vagina. You may also have a thick discharge that has a similar consistency to cottage cheese.
Vaginal sores and headaches
If you have sores and blisters around your vaginal area, then you may have Genital Herpes. Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes simplex virus. Currently, there isn’t a cure for herpes - once the virus is in your body, it stays there. This does mean that it can lie dormant but flare ups can occur if you’re stressed, tired or run down. Other symptoms can include headaches and a fever.
Itchiness and yellow frothy discharge
If these symptoms are similar to what you’re experiencing, you may have Trichomoniasis. This is an STI that’s caused by a parasite. You can only contract this parasite through sexual contact with another infected person. You might find that your vulva is sore and itchy and it may be painful to go for a wee however up to half of women may not have any symptoms at all.