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        Vaginal Infections

        What is a vaginal infection?

        A vaginal infection, or vaginitis, is an inflammation of the vagina or vulva. It can be caused by a number of conditions, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, yeast infections, or an overgrowth of bacterial vaginosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginal symptoms, affecting almost 1 in 3 women in the US every year.

        What are the symptoms of a vaginal infection?

        Symptoms of vaginitis can include irregular vaginal discharge (thick, grayish-white, greenish-yellow, and/or cottage cheese-like), vaginal itching, vaginal soreness, or an especially fishy vaginal odor.

        It is important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by a fever, pelvic pain, or chills. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can prevent vaginitis from dissipating on its own accord. Connect directly with a gynecologist through Sesame and save up to 60% on healthcare services. Whether it's symptoms related to vaginitis or regular check-ups, Sesame clears your way to quality care.

        How do you get a vaginal infection?

        There are many causes of vaginitis. Some common causes include:

        Vaginal yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis): There are many reasons why you can get an overgrowth of Candida albicans, including high levels of estrogen, poor diet, antibiotics, and diabetes.

        STDs: Different types of sexually transmitted diseases can cause vaginitis, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and trichomoniasis.

        Bacterial overgrowth: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that involves the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. New sex partners and douching are a few examples of how an imbalance of bacteria can occur in the vagina.

        Foreign objects: Things like forgotten tampons, or tissue paper can irritate the tissues of the vagina.

        Vaginitis is treatable based on its cause. While antibiotics treat BV, they may not treat vaginitis caused by a fungal infection. Speaking to a doctor about your symptoms can help reveal a diagnosis and treatment plan that's specific to your case. Sesame offers telehealth visits up to 60% off what you'd pay through an insurance carrier. Book a virtual consult with a gynecologist through Sesame and get ready to save.

        When should I go to the doctor for a vaginal infection?

        If left untreated, certain types of vaginal infections can cause more issues down the road. Trichomoniasis, for example, can cause urinary tract infections and can put you at a higher risk for developing cervical cancer, especially if you are also infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

        The bottom line: if you have concerns regarding your vaginal infection, you should see a healthcare provider such as a gynecologist to get the care - and peace of mind - that you need.

        Do I have bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection?

        Identifying whether you have a vaginal yeast infection or BV lies in the color and consistency of your vaginal discharge. While yeast infections are normally scentless with a thick white consistency, BV discharge has a strong fishy odor and is thin, gray, or yellow in hue.

        It is hard to differentiate the other symptoms of a yeast infection and BV due to the fact that they share similarities such as burning during urination and vaginal itching. In order to properly identify your vaginitis, an appointment with a women's health doctor may be needed.

        If this is the first time you are experiencing these symptoms, or suspect that it is BV, you should see a doctor. BV will not go away on its own, and prescription medicine is necessary for treatment.

        What is the treatment for a vaginal infection?

        Your type of vaginal infection will dictate your treatment. Treatments include over-the-counter and prescription medicines like antifungals (including fluconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole), antibiotics, vaginal suppositories, and vaginal cream.

        There are a few preventative measures that may help reduce your risk of developing a vaginal infection in the first place. These measures include urination after sexual intercourse. You may also want to wear cotton underwear, that allows your genital area to breathe and doesn't trap heat as synthetic materials do. Reducing or eliminating vaginal douches can also help your body maintain a healthy amount of good bacteria. Douching can cause harmful bacteria to overgrow in your vagina. Research also suggests that if you are prone to BV, you may be less likely to have recurring infections if you take hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills.

        Get birth control pills, vaginal creams, antibiotics, or other vaginal infection treatments by booking a virtual or in-person visit with a gynecologist through Sesame.

        Can you get rid of bacterial vaginosis without antibiotics?

        Though there are at-home treatments that may help treat and prevent BV, these won't likely be as effective as prescription antibiotics. If you think you may have a vaginal infection, you should seek professional medical care.

        Some home remedies include boosting your immune system by taking vitamin C, taking supplements with antifungal qualities such as garlic, and eating yogurt with good bacteria called lactobacilli.

        What is a yeast infection?

        Vaginal yeast infections (candidiasis) are infections of the vagina and vulva that cause discharge, irritation, and itchiness. A healthy vagina contains a normal balance of yeast and bacteria (lactobacillus). A yeast infection occurs when there is an imbalance of yeast. Most yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans, though there are other types of candida fungus that need therapies that are more aggressive and are harder to treat. Yeast infections are not sexually transmitted infections, though you can get a yeast infection from your sexual partner because of a bad reaction to their natural genital yeast and bacteria.

        What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

        Common symptoms of a yeast infection include:

        • Vaginal discharge: Thick white cottage cheese-like discharge that is odor-free
        • Thrush
        • Soreness
        • Burning while urinating or during sexual intercourse
        • Vaginal rash
        • Swelling and/or redness of the vulva
        • Intense itchiness of the vagina and vulva

        It is common for women to confuse their yeast infection symptoms with bacterial vaginosis (BV), which shares many of the same indicators. A good way to differentiate is to look at the discharge. If your discharge is thin, greyish-white, and has a strong fishy odor, you likely have BV.

        If you are pregnant or have more severe symptoms, uncontrolled diabetes, or developed four or more yeast infections in the last year, you may have a complicated yeast infection. Make an appointment with a doctor if your symptoms don't go away with over-the-counter antifungal medication such as vaginal cream or suppositories.

        How do you get a yeast infection?

        When your body has an imbalance of Candida fungus, you may develop a vaginal fungal infection (vaginitis). There are a number of ways in which you can develop an overgrowth of candida such as the use of antibiotics, douching, an impaired immune system, pregnancy, or hormonal contraceptives which increase estrogen levels.

        You might reduce the likelihood of getting a yeast infection if you change your tampons often, avoid hot tubs and hot baths, and for those with diabetes, control your blood sugar. If you are experiencing a yeast infection for the first time, consider seeing a doctor. They can help you decide which treatment is best for you. Sesame has doctor visits available as early as today. Don't wait to get the treatment you deserve. Book and pay doctors directly, at upfront prices, on your schedule.

        What are common yeast infection treatments?

        Common yeast infection treatments include over-the-counter antifungal medication such as Monistat (miconazole), topical vaginal cream (clotrimazole), prescription medicine such as Diflucan (fluconazole), and vaginal suppositories.

        If over-the-counter medicine isn't clearing up your yeast infection, you may have a strain of Candida that has a resistance to antifungal medication. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that this is becoming an increasing problem with yeast infections. Speak with a doctor if you have concerns about your yeast infection. They may be able to provide you with a stronger medication.

        How long does a yeast infection last?

        If you have a mild yeast infection, it should heal up within a couple of days, with moderate and severe cases lasting up to two weeks or more.

        If your yeast infection hasn't gone away within several days or you notice pelvic pain, you may have a different type of infection such as a urinary tract infection.

        What are the risk factors of developing a yeast infection?

        Yeast infection risk factors include:

        Lowered immunity: Those with an impaired immune system are more likely to get yeast infections.

        Higher estrogen levels: Hormone therapy such as high-dose birth control pills make yeast infections more likely.

        Antibiotic use: Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, but they also kill good bacteria which can lead to an imbalance of yeast in your system.

        Uncontrolled diabetes: Those who have diabetes and don't properly control their blood sugar may increase their risk of developing yeast infections.

        What is the fastest way to get rid of a yeast infection?

        There are a wide variety of effective treatments that can help you quickly get rid of your yeast infection. Because yeast infections are uncomfortable, it's natural to beat the infection as fast as humanly possible. Fast treatments include over-the-counter antifungal medicine, yogurt rich in probiotics, boric acid, and sugar-free cranberry juice. If sugarless cranberry juice is too tart, consider watering it down for easier consumption.

        If your yeast infection isn't going away after several days consider booking an appointment with a healthcare provider with Sesame. While you wait for your appointment, try wearing cotton underwear to improve breathability in your genital area and avoid douches, hot baths, and hot tubs.

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