There is a perfectly good reason why your mom taught you to properly wash your genitals. And while you may be right that this has something to do more with hygiene and sanitation, health experts agree that meticulous genital hygiene is an essential requirement in promoting optimum genital health and preventing vaginal infections.
Why Vaginal Infections are More Common
The anatomy of the female genitalia makes vaginal infections more frequent compared to penile infections among males. The vagina is a unique ecosystem where normal microbial flora thrives without harm because of a balance in the vaginal pH as well as hormonal levels. When this delicate balance is upset, such as when the vaginal pH is inadvertently changed because of some feminine products used to wash the vagina, infections can occur. The normal microbial flora becomes pathogenic in such a way that it now creates vaginitis, or infection of the vagina.
What are the Most Common Types of Vaginal Infections?
There are several types of vaginal infections, often indicated by the causative organisms.
- Candidiasis is a vaginal infection caused by Candida albicans, a type of fungus. It is one of the most common vaginal yeast infections which can produce the characteristic vaginal itching accompanied by a vaginal discharge that is described as white and clumpy.
- Trachomatis is a vaginal infection brought about by Chlamydia trachomatis, a Gram-negative type of bacteria that can lead to painful urination and a malodorous vaginal discharge. Trachomatis is considered as one of the world’s most common sexually transmitted infections.
- Gonorrhea, also known as clap or drip, is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea, which produces an infection that is mostly symptom less among females. Among those who have, they usually present with pelvic pain and vaginal discharge.
- Trichomoniasis is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. The infection is characterized by a vaginal discharge that is foul-smelling, painful urination, and vaginal itching.
Other causes of vaginal infections can be brought about by different bacteria as well as viruses. It is generally recommended that if you experience any of the three cardinal signs of vaginal infection – itching, painful urination, and malodorous vaginal discharge – you need to see a Salt Lake City gynecologist.
Taking care of your genitals requires understanding of the importance of maintaining a delicate balance of vaginal pH and hormonal changes. As these microorganisms are natural residents of the vagina, it is imperative that they are prevented from proliferating.