Nine Questions About Women's Intimate Health

Nove Questões Sobre Saúde Íntima Feminina

At Frederica we believe that an informed woman is a woman with power. Therefore, we spoke with Dr. Fernando Cirurgião about one of the problems that appears with some regularity in the summer and that, normally, causes some shyness when questioned.

What types of vaginal infections are there?

There are several types of vaginal infections. The most common vaginal infections are Bacterial Vaginosis and Candidiasis. However, contrary to common sense, Bacterial Vaginosis is more prevalent than Candidiasis.

How can we distinguish Bacterial Vaginosis from Candidiasis?

It is very easy to get confused because Bacterial Vaginosis is little known, but the symptoms and causes of the two are different. Candidiasis is a fungal infection, while Bacterial Vaginosis is an infection caused by bacteria.

They say that when you have Candidiasis once, it is normal for it to appear again. How can we prevent this from happening?

Having Candidiasis once does not necessarily mean that it can appear again. However, to prevent a recurrence of Candidiasis, it is important to make some simple changes, for example, avoiding the use of deodorants and perfumed products around your intimate area, and changing your underwear after exercising.

What are the symptoms associated with each of these infections?

In the case of Bacterial Vaginosis, watery grayish discharge, unpleasant odor and vaginal discomfort. In the case of Candidiasis, itching, burning, inflammation of the vaginal lips and thick, whitish discharge.

How can the diagnosis be made?

In addition to the distinct symptoms, the vaginal pH is also different in each of these infections. To assess pH, there are self-diagnosis tests for vaginal infections available at various points of sale, from pharmacies, parapharmacies and even in areas where health products are sold. The test result (acidic or basic pH) must always be analyzed together with the symptoms for a correct diagnosis of the infection.

What is the treatment for each of them?

To treat Bacterial Vaginosis there are vaginal flora regulators, rich in lactic acid and glycogen, which limit the growth of harmful bacteria. In the case of Candidiasis, treatment must be carried out with gynecological antifungals, available on the market in different formats, which can be chosen based on personal preference.

At what age can you get a vaginal infection? Is it necessary to be sexually active?

It is not necessary to have started your sexual life. Vaginal infections can affect people from younger ages to post-menopause.

What factors can lead to the appearance of Bacterial Vaginosis? What about Candidiasis?

In the case of Bacterial Vaginosis, the use of inappropriate intimate hygiene products, frequent vaginal washing, some antibiotics, prolonged menstruation and the use of intrauterine devices are the main factors. As for Candidiasis, treatment with antibiotics, changes in the immune system and risk factors (such as diabetes mellitus, hormonal changes and the use of tight clothing or synthetic fibers, among others).

Is Candidiasis sexually transmitted?

Candidiasis is not a sexually transmitted infection. However, if you have a sexually active life you can transmit Candidiasis to your partner, and this partner to you. Men can also suffer from Candidiasis.

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