Vaginal infections affect not only women but also men, as many of them are sexually transmitted. When the infection is violated the pH of the vagina, there are specific discharges, the woman experiences discomfort and itching. But the most terrible thing is that such diseases lead to serious complications, up to infertility.
Types of Vaginal Infections
There are infections that are transmitted sexually (STD or STDs). These include pathologies such as gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, condyloma, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, vaginal herpes and the like. Infection occurs not only through sexual contact, but also through skin contact.
Vaginal pathogens perfectly coexist with other types of bacteria, therefore, along with them, viruses of hepatitis, staphylococci, streptococci, E. coli, etc. can be detected.
There are certain bacteria that cause a number of vaginal infections of an infectious nature. It is:
1. Candida albicans (candida). These are yeast-like fungi, which can live in the female body for a long time without showing symptoms. And only after weakening the immune system, the first signs of infection appear. Candidiasis (thrush) is one of the so-called hidden infections.
2. Gardnerella vaginalis (Gardnerella). These are gram-negative and immobile rod-shaped bacteria. They cause many vaginal diseases, manifest immediately after infection, and the symptoms are expressed as brightly as possible.
3. HSV (herpes simplex virus). Bacteria are transmitted by sexual contact, by airborne droplets, through household items. In the early stages of the disease, symptoms do not appear.
4. Chlamydia Trachomatis (chlamydia). Bacteria may not manifest themselves at all. In such cases, infected people are only carriers of the causative agent, but during sexual contact the bacteria are easily transmitted to the partner. More about chlamydial infection is written in this article.
5. Trichomonas vaginalis (Trichomonas). This is the simplest flagellum microorganism, which most often lives in the male body, without manifesting itself as symptoms. When sex is transmitted to a woman, where it begins to multiply actively.
6. Gonococcus. The bacterium can develop absolutely asymptomatically or appear sluggishly.
Causes and Ways of Infection
Infection is carried out in stages:
- first the causative agent is attached to the epithelial cells located in the vagina;
- then the stage of bacterial multiplication begins;
- then the immune-inflammatory reaction develops;
- then the inflammatory process is generalized.
The most common vaginal infectious diseases, transmitted and not sexually transmitted:
1. Candidiasis (in common people – thrush) refers to a fungal type of disease that develops against the background of infection with yeast bacteria – Candida. Infection with sexual contact is almost impossible, but the bacterium is easily transmitted by oral caresses.
2. Vaginosis bacterial (aka gardnerellosis) occurs when the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis. It is believed that such an infection is not transmitted sexually, but with a change of partner, the risk of infection increases.
3. Trichomoniasis is always transmitted through sexual contact. The causative agent is Trichomonas (a unicellular parasite).
4. Herpes vaginal or genital is transmitted sexually. The main pathogen is HSV 1 and 2-type.
Risk factors for infection with vaginal pathogens:
- unprotected sex;
- frequent change of partner;
- non-observance of personal hygiene rules;
- failure of the hormonal background;
- period of pregnancy;
- weakening of immunity (read about how to strengthen immunity);
- pathology of the endocrine system.
Taking some drugs – antibiotics, corticosteroids, oral contraceptives – leads to the reproduction of vaginal pathogens. These drugs contain substances that destroy a friendly kind of bacteria, through which existing vaginal pathogens live without harming the body. If these bacteria are destroyed, then vaginal infections become more active and begin to multiply.
Symptoms of Vaginal Infections
The symptomatology of vaginal infections differs depending on the type of pathogen. However, there are common signs that are typical for all types of vaginal infectious pathologies:
- specific allocation;
- pain during sexual intercourse and discomfort;
- burning and itching.
Symptomatology of candidiasis:
- the discharge is dense and white, there are curdled lumps, without a specific odor;
- the vagina is covered with secretions;
- burning with urination;
- discomfort when touching.
At later stages of development, the signs intensify, up to the formation of ulcers and cracks.
Symptoms of vaginosis:
- discharge liquid or foamy, greyish shade;
- odor – fish;
- discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Symptoms of trichomoniasis:
- discharge yellowish-green hue, frothy;
- bleeding is possible;
- odor – unpleasant;
- swelling of the genitals;
- frequent urination.
Symptoms of vaginal herpes:
- profuse eruptions on the genitals in the form of vesicles;
- bubbles affect the skin around the perineum;
- in the vagina of the eruption are noted in rare cases;
- on the place of bursting bubbles, a crust and a scab form;
- frequent urination;
- temperature increase.
Eruptions on the genitals of a woman can be of a different nature.
Possible Complications and Consequences
Any vaginal infection entails complications and unpleasant consequences:
- decreased quality of sexual life;
- psychoemotional disorders;
- violation of reproductive abilities – infertility;
- transition to a chronic form;
- threat of miscarriage and inability to bear the child;
- development of cervical erosion;
- ulcerative formations;
- infection of the urinary system;
- development of endometriosis and other diseases of the reproductive system;
It is very important to apply for qualified help in a timely manner, because even cancerous tumors, HIV and AIDS can subsequently develop. If a sick woman is pregnant, then the infection is transmitted to the child.
For any problems with the reproductive system, you must first contact the gynecologist. Subsequently, he can send a woman to the dermatovenerologist.
When you visit a gynecologist, the physician performs a visual and palpation examination of the patient, which will determine the degree of damage to the vagina, the size and structure of the vagina, the uterus. Further, he will interview the patient for complaints and will conduct the following examinations:
1. It is necessary to take a swab from the vagina. For this, the gynecologist enters the inside of the mirror and collects biological material, which is then sent to the laboratory for further investigation. To establish an accurate diagnosis, based on the type of pathogen, conduct ELISA and PCR.
2. To exclude the presence of cancer cells, do a Pap test.
3. It is possible to conduct a biopsy, at which the tissue of the cervix is collected and examined in the laboratory.
4. The doctor usually prescribes colposcopy.
5. Be sure to pass blood tests that will reveal changes in the patient’s body. And also to identify antibodies to the pathogen.
The doctor may prescribe other additional methods of examination.
Treatment by Traditional Methods
Therapy of vaginal infections depends on the type of pathogen. The doctor appoints oral medications (tablets, capsules), vaginal suppositories and tablets, creams, ointments, injections.
In general, the therapy looks like this:
1. In bacterial vaginosis, antibiotics must be prescribed on the basis of Clindamycin and Metronidazole. Preparations: “Cleocin”, “Flagyl”. Only a woman is treated.
2. Candidiasis uses antifungal agents. The duration of the course of treatment is 2-3 days. These can be candles “Monistat”. Once a day you need to take such oral tablets: “Fluconazole” or “Diflucan“.
3. In severe fungal infection, a drug based on itraconazole “Sporanox” is used.
4. With some infections, the doctor prescribes Nystatin remedies – “Mycostatin”.
5. When yeast infection is taken once, “Clotrimazole”.
6. It is considered highly effective and the drug “Miconazole”.
7. Excellent disinfects “Hexicon”. It is used in almost all pathogens.
8. Other pharmacological agents used for vaginal infection are: Macmiore, Nystatin, Betadine, Yodoxin, Genferon, Viferon, Terzhinan, Polygynax.
Therapy can last from 3 to 15 days, depending on the pathogen and severity. At frequent relapses the patient should use vaginal tablets or candles during half a year. In pregnancy, the duration of therapy is always greater, since the safest drugs are used, hence their effect is weaker.
During treatment it is strictly forbidden to consume alcoholic beverages. Also during the period of therapy it is forbidden to consume sugar and other sweets, as these products create a favorable environment for the incubation of pathogens of vaginal infections.
Preventive measures to prevent vaginal infection and to maintain the body during and after therapy:
1. Avoid accidental sexual relations, do not change often partners.
2. Always use a condom during sexual intercourse. Other contraceptives will not prevent the transmission of infection from a partner. In men, many sexually transmitted diseases do not appear visually for a long time.
3. Eliminate any sexual intercourse during treatment.
4. When washing, you need to move your arm from the pubic to the anus, and not vice versa. The same rule also applies when wiping.
5. Try not to use hygiene products with aromatic odors, as they promote the propagation of pathogens.
6. Discard reusable fabric pads. Use purchased sanitary napkins and tampons. Change them every 2-4 hours.
7. Do not douche too often. Such preventive measures are useful, but everything should be in moderation. The fact is that with frequent syringing and enemas from the vagina, a natural microflora is washed out, and this promotes the multiplication of infections.
8. Purchased underwear, you must first wash and iron the area that comes in contact with the vagina, and then put on.
9. Give up vaginal deodorants, they break the microflora.
10. Wash your child’s laundry or laundry soap.
11. If you use intimate toys, be sure to disinfect them with chlorhexidine before use.
12. Do not wear wet bathing clothes for a long time. Better immediately after leaving the pond to change it to dry clothes.
13. It is not recommended to wear thongs, as their cut allows you to easily transfer the microflora of the rectum into the vagina.
14. Observe all hygienic norms – do not use one linen, clothing, washcloth, towel with other people, even if they are your relatives.
Now you know what vaginal infections can be. Adhere to preventive rules, contact your gynecologist in a timely manner and strictly follow its instructions. And to notice the manifestations of the disease, study your own smells, because it is their change that is the first bell of infection. Also pay special attention to the selection.