STIs Chlamydia Spread through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex, Chlamydia often exhibits very few symptoms. However, an unlucky few will experience abnormal vaginal discharge, a burning feeling whilst urinating, and painful sex.
Undesirable symptoms tend to emerged within two weeks of infection, and include painful urination, irregular vaginal bleeding and increased vaginal discharge.
As with Chlamydia, this STI can be identified with the use of a test kit. You may find clusters of small lumps around the opening of the vagina and around the vulva — they can sometimes itch or be painful. But genital warts can also occur on the cervix, within the vagina, in and around the anus, and in the general groin area.
Genital warts are caused by two strains of the Human papillomavirus HPV and you can protect yourself against contracting them by getting an HPV vaccine.
Herpes Unlike genital warts, sores from herpes will definitely hurt. Herpes can appear as blisters or lesions on the vulva or vagina, and will make sex a very painful experience. You may also notice pain when urinating, peculiar discharge and fever symptoms. The herpes simplex virus, which is transmitted via sexual contact, will remain in your body for the rest of your life. Trichomonas This common vaginal infection is caused by a parasite that is transmitted via sexual contact.
As with other STIs, women may encounter burning, swelling around the vulva, and pain whilst urinating. As an added bonus, watch out for frothy grey or green vaginal discharge with a strong fishy odour.
Bacterial Vaginosis Like it or not, the vagina is full of different types of bacteria. In the case of bacterial vaginosis, an invading group of bacteria called Gardnerella is largely to blame. The most obvious signs of this infection relate to your discharge: You may also experiencing some vaginal itchiness. Yeast Infection Thrush Similar to bacterial vaginosis, thrush is the result of an imbalance among the active cultures in your vagina.
The culture in question is actually a fungus called candida. Thrush itself is fairly harmless, although it can cause a lot of discomfort. If you experience itching, burning, soreness or swelling around the vagina, as well as clumpy white discharge, you probably have a bout of thrush.
If you encounter a burning sensation when urinating, an urge to urinate more frequently, and the need to urinate strikes you without warning, you may have cystitis. This occurs when bacteria from the anus works its way up through the urethra and infects the bladder. If untreated, this can spread and infect the kidneys. Mild cystitis does not always require treatment and may clear up on its own.
If your cystitis persists for more than a few days then you should seek medical help — they can prescribe a course of antibiotics. Non-Infectious Vaginitis Sometimes an increased sensitivity in the skin surrounding the vagina is not due to infection at all. Rather, it is an allergic reaction to chemicals introduced into the vaginal region.
This can be down to a range of factors: Such irritation can be resolved by simply removing the chemicals causing the reaction. Folliculitis This occurs when a hair follicle gets blocked and infected.
It usually manifests itself as a series of red bumps or small spots around the vulva. Folliculitis in this region mainly occurs as a result of waxing, shaving, and wearing tight non-breathable fabrics especially if they are dirty.
Cases are usually mild and will clear of their own accord. However, serious infection can be very uncomfortable and could lead to scarring.
How to practice good vaginal health Sounds daunting, but there are a few things you can do to promote a happy, healthy vagina. Your vagina is actually pretty good at cleaning itself, and introducing irritating products can upset the complex bacterial interactions which keep your pH level consistent.
Anything too invasive also carries the risk of pushing an infection further up your reproductive machinery. Practice safe, clean sex. Take STI tests regularly. This is particularly important if you have had several sexual partners or have ever had unprotected sex. See our online Sexual Health clinic for tests and treatments. Consider getting the HPV vaccine. This is offered for free on the NHS to girls under the age of Whilst protecting you against genital warts, this vaccine will also protect you against cervical cancer.
Avoid wearing clothes that hold in heat and moisture. Leggings, tights and gym gear can create the perfect environment for yeast infections. Non-breathable tight fabrics such as nylon are prime culprits for this, so cotton underwear may be preferable. Avoid using strong detergents and soaps. Strongly perfumed bathing products and deodorants can cause irritation to your vaginal area. Be aware of side effects of prescribed antibiotics. The chemical changes involved in taking antibiotics can affect the bacterial balance of your vagina, increasing your chances of developing problems like thrush.