Vaginal infections are common in women at all ages, but many are embarrassed to consult a doctor. This video is about vaginal infections, their causes and some home treatments, and will instruct you on when you should see a doctor if necessary.

There are two common types of vaginal infections. There’s the fungal and there is the bacterial type. And the treatment is different for each of them. If your friend or sister complains of similar symptoms and recommends certain medications, do not take them, because you may have similar symptoms but different causes. She may have fungal infection and you may have a bacterial infection or vice versa. And that’s why the same treatment for different people will be ineffective.

What causes vaginal infections? Many women think that washing the vagina using soap is a good thing, which is not right, as it is harmful to your vagina because it lowers the vaginal immunity. Soap, being alkaline, affects the acidic medium in the vagina. That’s why I would always advise my patients not to wash the inside of the vagina, even with water, as a vagina is able to clean itself. You should only wash the outer part of the vagina, and there is no need to use soap at all.

Douching or inserting chemicals into the vagina is one of the most important causes of vaginal infections, especially fungal infections. It is quite enough to wash the outer part of the vagina with water only, or you can use a solution of diluted vinegar, or yogurt. Always dry properly, because fungal growth increases in humid conditions.

The second cause of vaginal infections is lowered or weak immunity. Generally, if you are under psychological stress, or if you do not sleep enough or well, or if you’re not eating a healthy diet, or if you’re taking antibiotics or other medications like corticosteroids – all these will lower your immunity and cause vaginal infections.

Another cause of having vaginal infections is having multiple sexual partners, or if your partner has other sexual partners.

Also eating excess sugars and carbohydrates in general, such as pasta, rice, cakes, chocolate – all this will lower your vaginal immunity.

Bacterial infections may affect your reproductive system in the future and may cause problems with infertility, because the infection might spread to the uterus and form uterine adhesions. That would affect your fertility. That’s why if you suffer from vaginal bacterial infections at a young age I’d recommend that you treat the problem before planning to start a family.

As I said before, symptoms can be similar in bacterial and vaginal infections. Both bacterial and vaginal infections cause severe itching, abnormal vaginal secretions with different colours, like sometimes you can have it blue or green. The normal colour discharge is white or off white, sometimes yellowish. Or it could be light brown around your period time.

If you also notice any unpleasant odour – like fishy or cheesy odour – this is a sign of infection.

Any change of the odour or colour of vaginal discharge indicates a disorder and you should seek medical advice. 

What are the complications that you can expect from vaginal infections? So, what can happen if they are left untreated?

An important cause of uterine and fallopian tube infections can be due to a vaginal infection. These infections may affect your fertility in the future or may cause abortion du to uterine adhesions in long-standing untreated vaginal infections.

Secondly, if you are pregnant and you left your vaginal infection untreated and decided to have a vaginal birth or caesarean section, in both cases you might have a wound, and a wound might be infected, and then you could have postpartum problems like postpartum fever, and this can be fatal.

Vaginal infections can also affect your sexual life, because the unpleasant odour might be disturbing for your partner. You also might be suffering from painful sexual intercourse, with vaginal infections.

The treatment basically depends on changing your lifestyle, by eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, having good quality sleep, lowering the intake of carbohydrates and sugars, avoiding douching and using soap to wash the vagina. You can only wash the outer part of the vagina using water or some diluted vinegar solution. Nothing else. No soap.

Unfortunately vaginal infection may increase during hot days, so make sure that you wear cotton underwear.

Also if you’re overweight, reducing your body weight will positively affect your overall health, including your vaginal health.

After having tried a healthy lifestyle, and if the infection persists, you should consult your doctor, who will prescribe an antibiotic in case of serious vaginal or bacterial [also here (?)] infections. Do not feel ashamed, feel free to discuss everything with your doctor or trusted person, and take good care of your health.

I wish you all the best! 

Alyaa Gad