There’s A Problem Down There – Part 1
April 8, 2021
Hey Everyone! I’m Dr. Jasmine Bookert aka Dr. Jazz. Today’s topic may be a sensitive one for some, but we are going to tackle it. But before we get into the blog let me say that this blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is for educational and informational purposes. If you have medical concerns or need medical advice, please consult your physician for appropriate evaluation and treatment. So, now back to this post. The topic today is vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge can be an uncomfortable thing to discuss. No one wants to sit around the dinner table talking about their vaginal discharge. But it is a common concern for many women.
First, let me clarify that not all vaginal discharge is abnormal. Women can have a normal discharge. It may change depending on hormones or different situations but it is not always abnormal. Women may notice increased discharge close to ovulation or post menstrual cycle. But then there are other causes of vaginal discharge that need treatment. Bacterial vaginosis and Candidiasis or Yeast infections are two common reasons for abnormal vaginal discharge.
Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when there is too much of a type of bacteria in the vagina. When this happens there is disruption of the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina. An imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria is how it is often described. BV as we in the medical field call this condition is the most common vaginal condition diagnosed in women 15 to 44. Common causes of BV include a new sex partner, multiple sex partners, or douching. All of these activities can alter the balance of bacteria in the vagina, leading to bacterial vaginosis. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection but bacterial vaginosis can increase your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. So here is a quick summary of symptoms and treatment:
Symptoms & Treatment Options
• Thin white or gray vaginal discharge
• Pain, itching, or burning in the vagina
• Fish-like odor, increased after sex
• Burning with urination
• External vaginal itching
Diagnosis: Clinical diagnosis or laboratory testing from vaginal swab
Treatment Options: Oral Flagyl (Metronidazole) or Metronidazole gel (intravaginally) or Clindamycin (intravaginally or orally) or Tinidazole. No alcohol when taking the -zoles! Recurrent BV is common and may require repeat treatment or a specifically designed regimen recommended by your physician.
So,the next time you have BV, know that it is very common. Most of your friends have probably had it at least once. You do not have to avoid sex because of BV, but do know that a new partner or having multiple partners may be the cause. Probiotics may help to keep the normal bacteria balance in your vagina. I take them for this very reason.
Now, the breakdown on yeast infections or candidiasis. Candidiasis is caused by yeast, which is a type a fungus. It is the second most commonly diagnosed vaginal infection after bacterial vaginosis. I definitely can relate to how irritating and uncomfortable a yeast infection can be. I’ve had one bad yeast infection. I think I was pregnant at the time and miserable. There are various reasons as to why yeast develops in the vagina. But first, let’s discuss symptoms. Many of you already know these symptoms unfortunately.
Candidiasis (Yeast) Symptoms:
• Vaginal itchiness or pain -redness, swelling, or irritation of the walls of the vagina
• Pain with sex
• Pain or burning with urination
• Abnormal vaginal discharge- thick like cottage cheese (sorry)
• Immunocompromised-weakened immune system
• Diabetes- yeast likes sugar
• Pregnancy- the hormones
• Medications- antibiotics, oral contraceptives
Diagnosis: vaginal swab to test for the yeast(fungus)
Treatment: antifungal medication intravaginally (more zoles) or oral fluconazole
• Wearing cotton underwear
• Not wearing wet clothing for long periods of time (change your workout clothes)
• Loose clothing
• Controlling health problems that increase risk (diabetes)
• No douching
• Be careful of scented feminine products or soaps
• Change tampons and pads frequently
• Only take antibiotics when necessary
So that is the break down on common reasons for vaginal discharge. Remember, don’t self-diagnose based on something you read. Seek treatment from a medical provider to be properly diagnosed. If you want to provide some feedback on this blog, or if you have suggestions for a new topic to discuss drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please take the time and follow my social media pages for my podcast on Instagram and Facebook, @thebreakdownwithdrdiagnosis. There you can find the link to my podcast website and subscribe to the podcast. I would love for you to check in with me and my guests regularly to get the breakdown on a new diagnosis each episode. And remember, check out Dr. Diagnosis, a telemedicine urgent care. Please follow Dr. Diagnosis on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @diagnosemenow. And even if you don’t need to see a provider at Dr. Diagnosis, just check out the website at www.diagnosemenow.com. We have plenty of resources and links about COVID-19, influenza, mental health, and other topics. Until next time, stay safe and keep you and your loved ones healthy. See you soon!