Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Yeast Infection

Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Yeast Infection

Burning, itching and vaginal discharge are all-too-common symptoms for women during their reproductive years. Three out of four women will experience a yeast infection during their lifetime, and 50% of women will have more than one infection. But not all such symptoms are the result of yeast infections. A recent study found that only one in four women seeking treatment for a yeast infection was actually infected with Candida, the fungus responsible for yeast infections. So what are the other causes of these vaginal symptoms?

Yeast infections are the second most common cause of vaginal infections. The primary cause is actually bacterial vaginosis (BV). Women normally have resident bacteria in their vagina that are in a healthy state of balance with their surrounding tissues. But that balance can be disrupted by a number of things, including pregnancy (up to 16% of pregnant women have BV), hormonal changes, douching, foreign bodies (including IUDs), and even stress. This imbalance can cause an overgrowth of naturally occurring bacteria, which in turn can lead to infection, inflammation and discomfort. Although BV is not thought to be a sexually transmitted disease, it is more common in women with multiple sexual partners.

The third primary cause of vaginal infection is from Trichomonas, a parasite responsible for the trichomoniasis infection. There are five to eight million new cases of trichomoniasis each year in the United States. Trichomoniasis is particularly vexing because it may be asymptomatic in as many as 50% of the women who harbor the infection. The parasite can migrate up into the urinary tract, fallopian tubes and pelvis, causing infections and even preterm delivery and low birth weight babies. Trichomoniasis is considered to be a sexually transmitted disease.

All three of these infections can increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV infection. The symptoms of each infection can be virtually indistinguishable, but there are certain characteristics of each.

Yeast infections are characterized by: redness, itching and burning around the vulva; foul-smelling, thick, white discharge (may look similar to cottage cheese); pain during intercourse and urination.

The signs and symptoms of BV and trichomoniasis may be quite similar to yeast infections in terms of redness, itching and pain. With BV, however, the discharge tends to be thin, white or yellowish, and more uniform in appearance. Trichomoniasis discharge is typically a frothy, greenish-yellow secretion. Simple laboratory tests can distinguish between each of these infections using a swab of the fluid taken during a pelvic exam.

Treatment for yeast infections
First-time yeast infections can generally be treated with the over-the-counter anti-fungal medication miconazole (Monistat, Femizol, Vagistat). Recurrent yeast infections may require prescription of an oral antifungal medication.

Treatment for BV
This depends on the particular bacteria identified from the swab sample. Antibiotics such as metronidazole and clindamycin may be prescribed. Because these are powerful medications with known side effects, it is important to establish the diagnosis before starting treatment. Unfortunately, there is a high rate of recurrence after therapy.

Treatment for trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis infections are treated with the oral antibiotics metronidazole or tinidazole. Sexual partners should receive treatment as well.

Beware of self-diagnosis and treatment. Even among health professionals, the diagnosis is difficult to make based only on clinical signs and symptoms. Proper diagnosis usually requires microscopic examination of the discharge in order to distinguish between the three types of infections described above. In addition, vaginal discharge may be a symptom of more serious gynecological diseases and should be evaluated through a professional examination.

Article Origin: www.everydayhealth.com

The information contained on www.ksanghvimd.com (the “Site”) is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Information and statements provided by the site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. www.ksanghvimd.com does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, third-party products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by www.ksanghvimd.com is solely at your own risk.

Vaginal Itching & Burning: Your Top 3 Questions Answered

Vaginal Itching & Burning: Your Top 3 Questions Answered

As much as we love being women, there are some issues that aren’t so fun to deal with – vaginal itching, yeast and urinary tract infection, or worse, cervical cancer.

Find out which gynecological problem you might encounter, how to recognize and treat the symptoms and what steps you can take to prevent them. Plus: Are you at risk for breast cancer?

1. Yeast Infections
A yeast infection is a type of vaginitis, and 3 out of 4 women will experience at least one in their life; half of women will have more than one. Yeast infections can be passed to men, but this is rare.

What it is: Yeast infections are caused by a naturally occurring fungal organism called Candida albicans. The acidic environment of the vagina helps keep the yeast from growing, but when the pH  is altered, a yeast infection can occur. Moisture and other irritation can also promote the yeast to grow, causing vaginal itching.

Certain medications, antibiotics, steroids and birth control pills, stress, pregnancy, diabetes, and AIDS can kill “good bacteria,” cause changes in hormones or weaken the immune system, which all contribute to yeast infections.

Signs include:

  • Redness, itching and burning around the vulva
  • Abnormal discharge; foul-smelling, thick, white (similar to cottage cheese)
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination

Treatment: If you’ve never had a yeast infection, your doctor can diagnose it with a pelvic exam or by taking a swab.

RELATED: Bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection: How to tell the difference

First-time yeast infections can generally be treated with over-the-counter medications, and symptoms usually clear up within a week. It comes in cream or suppository form, and the cream can also be used to relieve outer vaginal itching.

For recurrent yeast infections or hard-to-clear-up infections, your doctor will prescribe an oral antibiotic.

What you can do to help prevent vaginal itching and yeast infections:

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes and synthetic materials like nylon. Only wear cotton underwear
  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom
  • Change out of a wet bathing suit right away
  • Avoid douching and scented products like soap, bath products sanitary products
  • Dry off well after a shower
  • Avoid baths and hot tubs

2. Urinary Tract Infection
What it is: A UTI is a bacterial infection of your urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

Bacteria from your skin near the rectum or in the vagina can spread and enter through the urethra, causing a UTI.

The most common UTI is in the bladder, which can be very painful.

More than half of all women will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) sometime in their lifetimes. Men can develop UTIs too, but they’re more common in women because their urethra is shorter, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel.

Sexual intercourse, use of diaphragms, menopause, or a weakened immune system are common causes of UTIs.

Signs include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • Feeling the urge to urinate but not being able to
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Cloudy or bloody urine

Treatment: Your doctor will obtain a urine sample to determine the type of bacteria present in the urine.

Unless you have other health problems, antibiotics are then prescribed, and symptoms usually clear up within a few days of treatment.

For recurrent UTIs, your doctor may prescribe you low doses of antibiotics for several months to prevent infections from coming back.

If sexual intercourse is the cause of UTIs, your doctor may prescribe a single dose of an antibiotic after you have sex.

If the infection is more serious and has spread to your kidneys, you may need to take an antibiotic for longer or you may need to be hospitalized.

Nausea, lower back pain and fever are some signs of a kidney infection.

What you can do to help prevent it:

  • Drink plenty of water. Cranberry juice may also help
  • Don’t hold urine in
  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom
  • Urinate after intercourse
  • Avoid feminine products like deodorant sprays, douches and powders


3. Cervical Cancer
What it is: As the third most common type of reproductive organ cancer, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. It usually develops slowly over time when normal cells in a woman’s cervix become cancerous.

Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, is the most common cause of cervical cancer, but not all women who contract HPV will develop cervical cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved vaccines against HPV for females between the ages of 9 and 26.

HIV also can weaken the immune system’s ability to fight any infection.

Cervical cancer in its earliest stages usually produces no signs, but as the cancer progresses, you might notice:

  • Watery, bloody vaginal discharge with a foul smell
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding; after sex, in between menstruation or increased menstrual bleeding
  • Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse

Treatment: For pre-invasive stage treatment, the following types of surgery can be performed: conization, laser surgery, loop electrosurgical excision procedure, cryosurgery and hysterectomy.

For cancer that’s reached the invasive stage, the following treatments may be performed: hysterectomy, radical trachelectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy.

When the cancer is still confined to the cervix, a five-year survival rate is more than 90%.

What you can do to help prevent it:

  • Prolong the age of having sexual intercourse
  • Limit the number of sexual partners
  • Use protection like condoms
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise to help boost your immune system
  • Get regular Pap smears and pelvic exams
  • Get vaccinated against HPV

Women’s Health: How Much Do You Know?
As a woman, your health concerns are as unique as your body. How you take care of yourself has a huge impact on your future, affecting everything from your ability to have children to your risk of heart disease. There’s no substitute for good health, and when it’s gone, it’s often gone for good. Don’t let it pass you by.

Article Origin: www.everydayhealth.com

The information contained on www.ksanghvimd.com (the “Site”) is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Information and statements provided by the site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. www.ksanghvimd.com does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, third-party products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by www.ksanghvimd.com is solely at your own risk.

Coping With Infertility From Endometriosis

Coping With Infertility From Endometriosis

Being diagnosed with endometriosis — and the fertility problems that often come with it — can bring on a roller coaster of emotions. Shock, denial, anger, and depression are common. If these feelings are affecting you, try these smart strategies to help you cope.

If you’re ready to start a family, having endometriosis may make it more difficult. A review published in December 2012 in Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America indicates that as many as 30 to 50 percent of women with endometriosis struggle with infertility. The challenges are emotional as well as physical.

“If a woman has been diagnosed with endometriosis, which results in secondary infertility, and she has decided that she wants to start a family — then she’s experiencing distress from two different angles,” explains reproductive endocrinologist Judi Chervenak, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology in women’s health at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

“The first [stressor] is that she has a medical condition, which is resulting in infertility and which could also be causing her physical distress,” Dr. Chervenak says. “But she also is experiencing [emotional] distress, in that her physical condition is limiting her ability for that which she so desires.”

From the wish to have a baby to the diagnosis of reproductive problems and the often lengthy process of trying to conceive, the experience of infertility can cause anger, confusion, depression, a sense of helplessness, and frustration.

Struggling With Loss

With infertility “you experience loss — the loss of the image you have of yourself as a healthy person, as a fertile person,” explains Mary Lou Ballweg, co-founder and executive director of the Endometriosis Association. “It’s like losing a dream.”

Shannon Carney, a 36 year-old from Milwaukee, experienced painful periods for years before she was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 32. “I had symptoms back as far as I can remember,” says Carney. She also had trouble conceiving. Around the time she was getting advice on endometriosis treatment options, she unexpectedly became pregnant. But the intense joy she felt turned into “the worst, devastating grief” when she had a miscarriage at eight weeks.

“How did I cope?” she asks out loud, “through self-educating myself, which then led me to other women who had similar experiences. Everyone has their own road map. It’s too late for me — I can’t go back and change things. I can’t go back to get the diagnosis 10 years earlier, when I was healthier and could have tried for a baby then. Now I want to spread education and awareness about endometriosis to as many women as I can,” says Carney, who is the education program coordinator for the Endometriosis Association.

Tips for Handling Endometriosis-Related Fertility Issues  

If a jumble of painful emotions is affecting you, take heart: there are resources you can turn to. Start with these tips:

  • Remember you aren’t alone. In the United States, about 1 in 10 women between the ages 15 and 44 have trouble getting or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And endometriosis affects about 176 million women worldwide — or about 1 in 10 women, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. As many as half of these women are struggling to get or stay pregnant.
  • It’s OK to feeling anxious, sad, and stressed. “Infertility was long thought to be the cardinal symptom of endometriosis,” explains Ballweg. “But now we know that usually, pain comes first; long before infertility issues, there’s the physical pain of the disease.” This means you’ve probably been dealing with difficult issues for a while. So while the emotional pain of infertility is particularly difficult, it’s important to not feel weak in any way for feeling the way you do, or if you need help coping.
  • You may go through several stages of feelings. The process of coping with a fertility problem can be likened to the well-known “grief cycle” described by the Swiss doctor, Elizabeth Kubler Ross. This response to grief involves going through periods of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. Ballweg cautions that dealing with a reproductive problem, especially if you’re trying to conceive, may mean revisiting the stages of grief over and over.
  • Information is your friend. “The more you know, the more empowered you’ll feel,” says Ballweg. Learn as much as you can about endometriosis as well as infertility. RESOLVE from the National Infertility Association offers links to support, learning, and action on infertility issues around the country.
  • Develop an action plan. Keep an ongoing list of questions for your doctors. Knowing that you are taking positive steps forward will probably also make you feel more in control about your future. Ask for information on endometriosis resources in your community.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support. Whether it’s expressing yourself through journaling, talking to a social worker, or joining an endometriosis support group, it’s important to voice your fears and frustrations in some way. Endometriosis and general infertility support groups can be found all over the country.

The most important thing, says Ballweg, is to make getting well — not just getting pregnant — your focus. Things have changed over the last few years, she says. “It used to be, let’s just get her pregnant. Now it’s, ‘first, let’s get you well.’” And there’s so much that can be done to have that happen, she says.

When you’re in a lot of pain, and your life is upside down, it can help to learn about the disease, learn about the toxicities — learn about it all. “There’s so much to it, so much to learn and do about first getting well,” she says.

Article Origin: www.everydayhealth.com

The information contained on www.ksanghvimd.com (the “Site”) is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Information and statements provided by the site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. www.ksanghvimd.com does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, third-party products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by www.ksanghvimd.com is solely at your own risk.

21 Reasons To See A Gynecologist Before Age 21

21 REASONS TO SEE A GYNECOLOGIST BEFORE AGE 21

Although most young women don’t need to have a pap test until they are 21 years old, there are at least 21 reasons why you should see a gynecologist before age 21 years:

 

Health

1. Stay at a healthy body weight and feel good about your body.

2. Start good habits for healthy bones.

3. Learn if you have a urinary tract infection and get treatment if you do.

4. Get treatment for vaginal itching, discharge, or odor.

 

Periods

5. Learn if your periods are normal.

6. Get relief if your periods are painful.

7. Find out why your periods are too heavy.

8. Find out why your periods are too close or too far apart or why bleeding happens in between your periods.

9. Learn ways to deal with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) problems.

 

Sexuality and Relationships

10. Have safe and healthy relationships with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

11. Know when a relationship is threatening or harmful.

12. Talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) topics.

13. Think things through before you have sex for the first time.

14. Learn about safe sex.

 

Pregnancy

15. Get birth control so you can choose to become pregnant when the time is right for you.

16. Plan ahead for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

17. Get tested for pregnancy.

18. Know what your options are if you become pregnant.

 

Sexually Transmitted Infections

19. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and take steps to lower your risk of becoming infected.

20. Get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

21. Get tested for STIs and HIV if you are sexually active.

 

Original article from ACOG.org