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Bacterial Vaginosis vs Vaginal Candidiasis (Vaginal Yeast Infection)

Have you recently been experiencing a range of uncomfortable vaginal symptoms, including itching, vaginal discharge and an occasional burning sensation?

Are you convinced that your symptoms are the result of vaginal candidiasis, or vaginal yeast infection, as opposed to some type of bacterial infection such as bacterial vaginosis?

Vaginal candidiasis is very common in women, but before you automatically pursue a treatment strategy for vaginal yeast infection, it’s vital that you first rule out the possibility of bacterial vaginosis – a bacterial infection requiring a very different course of treatment.

Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Vaginal Candidiasis : The Causes and Treatment

Within the vagina there are millions upon millions of tiny organisms, organisms which include fungus, harmful bacteria and, most importantly, the friendly bacteria that serve to keep the fungus and bad bacteria in check.

This balance is remarkable, and normally very harmonious, however when this balance is upset, and the friendly bacteria become depleted, both the harmful bacteria and fungus can begin to grow unchecked, ultimately causing infection.

Some of the reasons for this disruption in the vaginal balance include :

Good bacteria can also become depleted by wearing clothing and/or underwear that is too tight and restrictive, douching, scented soaps and pads and poor hygiene, all of which can lead to either vaginal candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis.

Vaginal Candidiasis : Cause and Treatment

Vaginal candidiasis, or vaginal yeast infection, occurs when the vaginal balance is upset, leading to the overgrowth of a particular fungus called Candida albicans.Vaginal candidiasis is contagious, but rarely serious, and can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications such as Monistat 7.

Bacterial Vaginosis : Cause and Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis, on the other hand, occurs when there is a proliferation of harmful bacteria, also caused by vaginal imbalance and the depletion of friendly bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis is considered more serious than vaginal candidiasis, as it can rapidly spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. It is especially dangerous during pregnancy and can lead to a number of serious complications.

Treating this condition requires a strong course of antibiotics and other types of medical treatment as prescribed by your doctor.

Neither vaginal candidiasis nor bacterial vaginosis are considered sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or sexually transmitted infections (STI); however, bacterial vaginosis is much more prevalent in sexually active women with multiple partners.

Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Vaginal Candidiasis : Understanding the Symptoms

Differentiating between vaginal candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis can often be challenging because they both present with many of the same symptoms. Both conditions cause vaginitis, a term used to describe inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the vagina, and both can bring about discharge, irritation and burning.

There are, however, a few subtle symptom-related dissimilarities between vaginal candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis that must be noted – differences that may help you to distinguish between the two types of infection.

Vaginal Candidiasis Symptoms

The symptoms of vaginal candidiasis will vary from case to case, but generally the condition is characterized by :

Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms

The presence of bacterial vaginosis will typically produce :

While the variance of symptoms may be slight, the first thing to look for is the difference in the consistency and odor of the discharge, as vaginal candidiasis discharge is thick with a yeasty odor, and bacterial vaginosis discharge is normally watery with a fish-like smell.

Also, if intense itching is present, it is much more likely that vaginal candidiasis is the culprit, as bacterial vaginosis rarely presents with itching.

Bacterial vaginosis and vaginal candidiasis are just two of the many possible vaginal conditions that can cause uncomfortable symptoms, some of which can be very serious.

For that reason, most doctors and gynecologists recommend that you seek treatment at the first sign of symptoms in order to rule out a more severe underlying condition.

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