At Vaginal infections it is a common disease in women. The topic is unpleasant for many women and is rarely addressed. The discomfort can be very unpleasant. Be stressful for the patient. Often everyday life suffers from it. Also the sexual life. The symptoms can range from complete absence of symptoms to severe itching and pain.
ZAVA provides an overview of which diseases can lead to a vaginal infection and what treatment options are available.
Patients with a suspected vaginal infection can contact the doctors at ZAVA. With the help of a questionnaire, physicians can assess the extent and severity of the complaints and advise on treatment options.
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What are the causes of vaginal infection?
A vaginal infection occurs when a Imbalance of the normal vaginal flora prevails. The vaginal discharge or white discharge plays a central role in this process. The intimate area is constantly exposed to external environmental stimuli. Bacteria can easily migrate in this way. Lead to inflammation. Healthy vaginal flora prevents infection of the vagina. Keeps all bacteria in balance.
What does the healthy vaginal flora consist of??
The healthy vaginal flora consists mainly of lactobacilli (Doderlein bacteria). These produce lactic acid, which creates an acidic environment (pH 4.5) in the vagina. Other bacteria are also found in the vaginal flora, which is mainly due to the location and function of the vagina.
There are also potential triggers of infections such as skin bacteria, intestinal bacteria and, in the case of sexual activity, bacteria that can cause sexually transmitted diseases.
How can bacteria potentially causing vaginal infection be present in the healthy vaginal flora?
The acidic environment of the vagina is the main protective mechanism against dangerous germs. If this environment is intact, dangerous germs are rendered harmless. So they can coexist in the vaginal secretion but are always in equilibrium with the Doderlein bacteria.
What can affect the healthy vaginal flora?
The acidic environment of the vagina depends on the estrogen concentration of the woman. If estrogen levels are too low, the vaginal flora does not form adequate protection against bacteria and inflammation can occur. A healthy vaginal flora is therefore only present during sexual maturity from the first (menarche) to the last menstrual period (menopause).
Thus, vaginal infections are more common during menopause, when estrogen levels decrease. The mucous membrane recedes and becomes dry and cracked. Bleeding may occur.
Also the Taking antibiotics Can influence the composition of the vaginal flora. The number of Doderlein bacteria is reduced by the antibiotics. The protective lactic acid cannot be provided. Infections caused by vaginal fungi in particular are thus favored.
Also a excessive intimate hygiene as a result of vaginal douches or intimate sprays can influence the acidic environment of the vaginal flora and lead to increased infections.
How to recognize a vaginal infection?
The symptoms of a vaginal infection can be different. Often the infection runs without any symptoms, so the exact diagnosis is not always easy.
The external vaginal area may be reddened and irritated. Severe itching (pruritus) with a burning sensation may occur, which increases especially before menstruation (premenstrual). Also may cause pain during intercourse or urination. The vaginal discharge can change in color, for example, as a green discharge. Change in consistency or even take on an unpleasant odor.
What diseases are responsible for vaginal infection?
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginal infections. There is a disturbed colonization of the vaginal flora with the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis.
The Symptoms Are comparatively mild with a grayish-white discharge that typically has a fish-like odor. There is usually no itching or redness.
The Treatment is carried out in the presence of the characteristic symptoms by taking the antibiotic metronidazole or with local application of clindamycin cream. Another treatment method is the vaginal administration of lactic acid bacteria as suppositories to rebuild the healthy vaginal flora and achieve a natural fight against harmful bacteria.
Vaginal mycosis is the second most common cause of vaginal infections. The triggers are Yeast fungi mostly of the Candida albicans type. Candida albicans is part of the natural flora of the skin and mucous membranes, especially of the intestinal flora, and does not usually cause infection.
First with Changes in the immune system the yeast fungi can have a disease-causing effect. You are particularly at risk for any type of candidiasis (fungal infection) due to pre-existing conditions such as diabetes mellitus (diabetes), previous therapy with an antibiotic or a weakened immune system such as due to immunosuppression, chemotherapy, radiation, pregnancy or even psychosocial stress.
The symptoms of vaginal mycosis are severe to unbearable itching. The discharge is white and crumbly. In advanced disease, there may be a burning sensation that increases premenstrually (before menstruation). Pain during urination can also. Have sexual intercourse.
The vaginal fungus is treated with local anti-fungal creams or Suppositories with the active ingredient clotrimazole. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to take tablets of the active ingredient. It should be noted that a fungal infection contagious is. In case of an infection, the partner should always be treated as well.
Vaginal infections are third most frequently caused by trichomonads. Trichomonads are "flagellates" that do not have to cause disease. Most often they occur in the genital tract of men and do not cause any symptoms. You become sexually transmitted to the woman, therefore the infection also counts to the STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).
Trichomonads can also occur in women remain asymptomatic for a long time and only lead to symptoms when the vaginal flora is disturbed. Typical symptoms are a thin foamy-yellow discharge that has a pungent odor. There may also be concomitant severe itching. trichomoniasis by taking the antibiotic metronidazole. The application of the local antifungal agent clotrimazole.
how to prevent vaginal infection?
The decisive protective factor to prevent a vaginal infection is the strengthen the internal defense system. The human organism has a natural defense mechanism through the vaginal flora that protects against harmful germs. The acidic pH value formed by the Doderlein bacteria renders the dangerous pathogens harmless. Therefore, all measures that destroy the vaginal flora should be prevented. This includes excessive hygiene with strong soaps, unnecessary use of antibiotics and sexual intercourse without a condom.
Also can be mechanical stimuli, how too tight underwear can lead to inflammation. Menopausal women can use vaginal estrogen suppositories to counteract declining blood estrogen levels and maintain healthy vaginal flora. It is also possible to help build up the vaginal flora by applying vaginal suppositories with lactic acid bacteria.