Back to Well-Woman Care.
Bacterial Vaginosis (formerly called haemophilus, gardnerella)
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the disruption of normal vaginal pH creating inflammation, discharge and odor. Bacterial Vaginosis is more likely to return at the end of your period, probably due to the higher pH of blood. Disruption of pH balance is also associated with having more than one sexual partner, douching, diet or vaginal sensitivities to latex. It also may be linked to sexual activity possibly because the higher pH of semen has a similar effect on encouraging the type of organisms that cause BV, although BV is also found in women who are exclusively lesbian. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection.
Diagnosis: The practitioner will test the pH of the vagina and take a swab of the discharge to analyze under a microscope.
Symptoms: Thin, milky, white or gray discharge with a foul or "fishy" odor. There may also be itching and burning of the vagina or labia. Some women can have BV and show no symptoms.
Treatment: BV is generally treated with antibiotics.
Potential Complications: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, cervicitis, cervical abnormalities, endometritis. BV generally does not cause health complications unless associated with pregnancy or surgical procedures.
Yeast (candidiasis or candida)
Yeast infections are an overgrowth of a naturally occurring fungus, which lowers the natural pH of women's vaginas. Often, yeast infections are a side effect of antibiotic treatments, or due to a high sugar diet. Some women are also susceptible to yeast infections before they get their period, due to a change in vaginal pH balance.
Women who have persistent, recurrent yeast infections or a yeast infection that is unresponsive to treatment should be tested to rule out underlying health problems, such as diabetes or HIV infection.
Diagnosis: The practitioner will test the pH and take a swab of the discharge to analyze under a microscope.
Symptoms: Mild to severe persistent itching, burning sensation during urination and an odorless discharge that can appear white, clumped or cottage cheese like in texture. Sometimes women can show no symptoms.
Treatment: Most topical treatments are available over the counter. There is also an oral medication available by prescription. Some women self-treat with boric acid suppositories, and/or plain yogurt with live cultures containing acidophilus and bifidus. Women may help prevent yeast infections by avoiding caffeine, refined sugar and alcohol.
Potential Complications: None
Please read our disclaimer