Ah, the dreaded yeast infection. Most of us associate the uncomfortable sensations of vaginal discharge, inflammation and itching with a yeast infection. This is usually taken care of by a trip to the local drug store. But, what if it isn’t really yeast?
There is another type of vaginal infection that displays the same basic symptoms. If you have trichomoniasis you need to look at an entirely different course of action.
Trichomoniasis is the second most common type of vaginal infection. It is caused by the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis. Trichomoniasis may be present in the vagina even without obvious symptoms, but when they show up the symptoms look very similar to that of a yeast infection.
Generally, a yeast infection presents itself as an odor-free white or yellow colored discharge. It is also associated with itching and vaginal irritation. The most common yeast organism, Candida albicans, can be present in about 20% of women without necessarily creating irritating symptoms. But, if conditions are right Candida makes a nuisance of itself causing intense itching, burning and a discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
Most yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams and suppositories. You may also be able to reduce the number of infections by eating more yogurt and taking an acidopholus supplement.
Trichomoniasis also displays painful itching and irritation but the discharge your vagina produces will be profuse, greenish-yellow in color, frothy and smell foul. It can also cause painful sexual relations and urination.
See your doctor when you first notice any of these symptoms. Your doctor will exam swabs of the discharge from your vagina in order to make an actual diagnosis.
If you do have trichomoniasis, antibiotics will be needed. Even if your partner shows no signs of infection, he should be treated with antibiotics as well. Some doctors will also recommend a special douche containing iodine. Refrain from intercourse until you have both finished treatment.
Any type of vaginal infection left untreated can lead to more serious health complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease or an infection of the fallopian tubes. Frequent infections can also be warning signs for something bigger. Talk to your doctor about how often you are having these types of problems.