When we start thinking about vaginal infections that need to be treated, the first question is whether or not you’ve ever been sexually active – with men or with other women. The reason you’d need to think about that is that there are infections that can be passed with sexual activity that cause discharge and other symptoms(like burning and itching down there….).
Sexually transmitted diseases that can cause discharge, sometime with other symptoms include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomonas. Other infections that are NOT sexually transmitted can cause discharge also, like bacterial vaginosis and yeast. These can cause itching and burning as well, as well as the discharge may have a bad smell. The only way to know what exactly is going on with you, is to go get tested. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can be detected with a urine sample. Other infections need a vaginal (or internal) exam. But don’t let that stop you from getting an exam. First of all, it’s not that bad. Second of all, if you DO have certain types of sexually transmitted infections, if they are untreated you will pass them on to others you have sex with. And they might actually cause infertility (inability to get pregnant) later in life when you want to start building a family of your own. They can even increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (like pregnancy in the tubes or places other than in the womb). Ectopic pregnancies can burst and require emergency surgery.
Even if you are not sexually active, the only way to know if you have normal discharge versus a yeast infection versus bacterial vaginosis or another cause of infection is to go see your Doctor or Nurse. Treatment for these things will make you feel better, but you need to know what you’re treating to make sure you get the right treatment!
If you go get tested and are prescribed a treatment, take the entire thing! Your symptoms probably will improve before all your prescription is used up, but you still have to finish it. The dose and the number of days are needed specifically to make sure all the infection is gone and doesn’t come right on back. If you have a sexually transmitted infection, you have to tell your partner so that he or she can get treatment too, and no one can have any sex until both partners have completed treatment, and sometimes for about a week after too. Also, you should tell any partners you have had previously so that they can get treatment too.
That’s vaginal discharge in a nutshell! Keep those questions coming!