Breaking down the difference between BV and yeast infections

Breaking down the difference between BV and yeast infections


Vaginal irritation isn't a problem until it is. 

You live your life without really ever thinking about the ins and outs of your vaginal pH or microbiome - until you’re randomly overcome with painful urination or an internal itchiness you’ll never be able to satisfyingly scratch. 

Vaginal infections are the worst, and Stix wants to equip you with the right information and products to get rid of those awful feelings as soon as possible. 

At the first sensation of itchiness, it’s important to start noticing and noting your symptoms. It can be hard to differentiate between a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis, or BV. Like a yeast infection and other vaginal infections, BV is a type of vaginitis AKA vaginal inflammation caused by an infection and the overgrowth of bacteria in your vagina. 

The differences between these infections is that BV is bacterial in nature, and yeast infections are fungal in nature. BV is caused by a change in your vaginal pH that enables the overgrowth of some bacteria. The most common bacterial culprit is Garderella vaginosis. Your vaginal pH can fluctuate due to hormonal changes, penile intercourse or other invasive activities, such as douching. Yeast infections are often due to the overgrowth of Candida fungus in the vagina. Candida can grow due to changes in hormones, pregnancy, high blood sugar and by taking different medications such as birth control pills or antibiotics. There is some evidence that suggests sexual activities can cause yeast infections, but currently yeast infections aren’t considered a sexually transmitted disease. 

The main symptoms of BV and yeast infections are very similar. This includes burning while urination and itchiness. The main difference is in the discharge. Discharge from yeast infections can be white and odorless, and sometimes have the consistency of cottage cheese. Discharge from BV is usually thin, with a grey, white or green coloring. It can also have a “fishy” odor and is more present after sex or menstruation. It’s possible to have both BV and a yeast infection at the same time.

You should seek medical care if you think you have BV, if it’s your first time having any of these symptoms, or if you treated yourself for a yeast infection with over the counter remedies and your symptoms persist.  Doctors predict that most people with BV experience no symptoms, so many people misdiagnose themselves with a yeast infection, when in fact they have BV. As mentioned, over the counter remedies can treat yeast infections, but BV requires a dose of antibiotics to cure. 

At the first sign of vaginal irritation, don't jump to conclusions. Take note of your symptoms, think about any changes in your routine or lifestyle, and be considerate about any changes in your discharge. Relief is around the corner, you just need to make sure you’re seeking relief for the right ailment.  

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