VAGINAL INFECTION: CAUSES AND CURATIVE MEASURES

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Looking for corners with less peering eyes has become part of Sandra’s routine in seeking to ease the itch in her pubic area. She would sometimes pretend to dip her hands in her pocket or spend more time in the toilet than usual to relieve herself of the incessant itching of her pubic area.

Does this describe your secret move? Do you run to corners to scratch? Do you use the toilet or some other place as a ‘safe space’ to scratch that area to your satisfaction?  This could be a vaginal infection, but don’t fret, this writeup will enlighten you on possible causes and how to deal with it. 

Vaginal infection is mostly as a result of an imbalance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. It could be either a bacterial infection or yeast infection. A bacterial infection is the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina and is responsible for yellowish, whitish, or greyish discharge.

Vaginal discharge is a mix of fluid and cells from the vagina. It could be clear, watery, whitish, sticky, and associated with odour. The look and quantity vary at different stages in the monthly cycle. Experiencing vaginal discharge is normal; it is the vagina’s way of cleansing itself. However, the state, thickness, and color of your vaginal discharge could connote the presence or absence of an infection, amidst other symptoms. If you experience a discharge with a fish-like odour after sexual intercourse, then you are probably having a bacterial infection. Yeast infection, on the other hand, is a fungal infection typically caused by the overgrowth of fungi. A pointer to yeast infection is excessive itching. It is also responsible for thick, white, and cottage cheese-like discharge. One way to differentiate between bacterial and yeast infection is the presence of a fish-like odour, as mentioned earlier.

Other symptoms of vaginal infection include rashes, pain, redness of the vulva, itching and irritation, soreness, a burning sensation heightened during urination or sex, among others. Different factors could contribute to this, below are some and how to deal with them:

Altered pH level: The vagina is normally slightly acidic. However, when this is altered or not maintained; it could lead to an infection. Soap, perfumes, body washes, vaginal contraceptives, and other products of such nature could irritate the vagina and disrupt its protective build. To keep the vagina clean, warm water will suffice to wash. Do not wipe from front to back, rather wipe the other way round.

Underwear: It is important to keep the pubic area dry and allow the vagina to breathe. Putting on tight wears can lead to vaginal inflammation. It is also advisable to wear cotton fabric underwear as it absorbs moisture, thus keeping the vagina dry.
Hormonal changes: use of antibiotics and birth control pills can upset the bacterial balance of the vagina due to changes in hormone levels and increase the risk of infection.

To restore and maintain balance in your vagina/body: 

  • Consume natural yoghurts and vitamin C
  • Reduce consumption of sugary and processed foods
  • Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics
  • Do not share towels and other intimate wears
  • Maintain proper hygiene
  • Avoid application of irritants 
  • Practice safe sex.

It is important to be sensitive to changes in the state of your vaginal discharge and the sensations in your pubic area. Be attentive to symptoms you have and the stages they occur during your cycle. When you notice abnormalities, see a medical personnel.

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Jane Egerton-Idehen

Jane Egerton-Idehen is a telecommunication executive with over 13 years’ experience in the Nigerian, Liberian and Ghanaian telecommunications markets. Jane has a strong passion for promoting girls in STEM and ensuring women in STEM industries remain and grow their careers in that industry. She curates her thoughts around her career journey, experiences and passion in life.