Vaginal Infections Singapore
What are Vaginal Infections?
Vaginal disorders such as vaginal yeast infections or vaginal candidiasis are an embarrassing topic but they affect women of all ages, regardless of their sexual activity. In fact, all women will experience some type of vaginal disorder throughout her life.
The symptoms of these disorders are broad and can include abnormal discharge and odors, itchiness in the vaginal area, and even painful sex. Women may also notice abnormal lumps or bumps in this area.
Causes of Vaginal Disorders/Vaginal Yeast Infections
There is not one particular cause for vaginal disorders although they may be caused by an infection of the vagina. This is also known as vaginitis. The causes of this infection can include sexual transmission but may also be due to yeast infections of bacterial vaginosis. We call this vaginal yeast infection or candidiasis.
A vaginal yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis is a common fungal infection that affects 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lives. It is usually caused by an imbalance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina, such as Candida albicans. A vaginal yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection though there’s an increased risk from the time of first regular sexual activity. Women who have four or more vaginal yeast infections in a year require longer treatment.
Vaginal disorders that lead to the presence of lumps or that display by causing painful sexual intercourse, or abnormal bleeding between menstrual cycles may be due to other causes. Untreated sexually transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted infections or genital warts can also be the culprit. These symptoms may also be caused by cancer present in the vagina, cervix, or uterus.
If you suspect that you might be experiencing any of these symptoms, please monitor the symptoms and consult a doctor.
Can vaginal discharge be normal?
Most women experience mild discharge even between their periods. This may be a part of your normal hormonal changes throughout your cycle. However, it’s still important to determine the cause of any discharge that is excessive, persistent, or bloody that occurs at any time during your menstrual cycle.
Am I at risk for vaginal yeast infection and should I be tested?
Regular screening for vaginal yeast infections is recommended to catch any areas of concern before it becomes a problem. Do let your doctor know if any of the following applies to you:
- Unusual symptoms with your vagina as mentioned above
- Recent changes in sexual partners
- Multiple sexual partners
- Having a recent partner who was recently diagnosed with a sexually transmitted illness
- Planning to get pregnant
Testing for Vaginal Disorders
Before performing any tests, your doctor will first understand your full medical and sexual history. The doctor will also conduct a pelvis and vaginal examination. Depending on your own health, your doctor may want to perform tests such as a vaginal swab, pap smear, or possibly an ultrasound of the pelvis.
What is a High Vaginal Swab?
This test is similar to a pap smear and is performed with a speculum to obtain a sample from the vagina. The reason for performing this test is to check for infections such as a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, vaginal thrush symptoms and other types of sexually transmitted diseases.
Throughout this testing process, you should discuss any health concerns or testing concerns with your doctor.
If I don’t get treated, will this problem resolve on its own?
If you have a mild case of vaginitis or vaginal yeast infection, it’s possible that this problem will resolve on its own. However, if you have a more serious vaginal disorder, leaving it untreated can lead to problems down the road.
For example, untreated conditions can lead to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and inflammation. Ignoring the symptoms can also lead to a delayed diagnosis or delayed treatment of cancer. This is why it is highly recommended to consult with a physician for diagnosis and treatment should the symptoms arise.
Treatment for Vaginal Disorders
For vaginitis or vaginal yeast infection treatment, treatments usually come in the form of oral medications, creams or pessaries. Most doctors prescribe boric acid to treat vaginal yeast infections.
If you have vaginitis that is caused by sexually transmitted conditions, it’s also likely that the doctor will recommend your partner be tested and treated as well.
Reducing the Risk of Future Vaginitis
In order to reduce your risk of developing vaginitis or its severity in the future, there effective steps that you can take includes the following:
- Practice safe sex and consider barrier contraception
- Have regular sexual transmitted disease screening performed
- Make sure that you and your partner are treated for any infections as needed
- Avoid using feminine douching as this may lead to vaginitis
What are some symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection?
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include:
- A change in the colour, odor or amount of vaginal discharge e.g. cottage cheese-looking
- Vaginal redness or itching
- A mass or bulge in your vagina
- Pain during intercourse
That being said, you might not need to see a doctor every time you experience vaginal irritation or discharge, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with vaginal yeast infection in the past and are experiencing similar signs.
Vaginal yeast infections are considered complicated if:
- Symptoms are severe and lead to tears, cracks or sores
- Vaginal yeast infections recur four or more times a year
- The yeast infection is caused by a not so common fungus
- You are pregnant
- You have diabetes that cannot be controlled, leading to more occurrences of vaginal yeast infections
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