The Stix guide to your first vaginal infection
Life is full of firsts. Your first steps, your first day of school, your first kiss, your first time driving on a highway. But life is also full of unfortunate firsts, like your first yeast infection.
It can be concerning when things go awry down there, but you’re certainly not alone in this experience. We’ve definitely been there, so here’s our guide with everything you need to know about your first vaginal infection.
How common are vaginal infections?
Vaginal infections will impact most people with vaginas at some point in their life — it’s basically a rite of passage.
While you may feel pain, burning, or inconvenient itchiness right now, it can be helpful to remember that an infection can give you some insight into what does or doesn’t work for your body.
How to know whether you have a vaginal infection
While some symptoms of vaginal infections can be obvious like itching, unusual discharge, or pain, other signs may be more subtle. The first step to getting relief is recognizing the symptoms of something being off with your vaginal health. Some symptoms of vaginal infections are:
- Discomfort such as itchiness
- Burning while you pee
- A new odor or smell
- Change in discharge
- Pain during sex
- Unusual dryness
I’m experiencing one of these symptoms, now what?
vaginal-testing-comboIf you’re having any of these, you’re probably wondering what could be causing your symptoms. Here are a few things that could be the culprit:
An allergic reaction
Changes or irritations in your vaginal area can be due to an allergic reaction or a sensitivity to certain products. Think about whether you’ve made any changes to your detergents, fabric softeners, perfumed soaps, or spermicides because that could be the source of your irritation.
Finally, if you started using a new product and are noticing irritations, try stopping that product to see if the symptoms subside.
And if you’re using a douche or vaginal spray, talk with your doctor to see if they recommend stopping use.
Change in hormones
Menopause or surgery such as an ovary removal can cause a change in hormones, which can cause unpleasant changes to your vagina like dryness or discomfort. Reach out to your primary care provider if you’re unable to find relief.
A sexually transmitted infection (STIs)
Common STIs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. STI symptoms can be nonexistent or subtle and can appear similar to other non-sexually transmitted vaginal infections. Gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis can be treated and are usually cured with a full completed course of antibiotics.
A non-sexually transmitted infection
Two common types of vaginal infections are yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (aka BV). You can use an at-home vaginal pH test to find out instantly whether you have a yeast infection or something more serious like BV.
Yeast infections are fungal infections due to an overgrowth of yeast that can cause discharge like cottage cheese, irritation, and/or intense burning. They are caused by the disruption of good bacteria in your vagina, which can encourage the growth of excess yeast. Some things that cause this disruption are antibiotics, stress, uncontrolled diabetes, or wearing wet workout shorts or bathing suits.yeast-infection-complete-comboBV is a bacterial infection due to the overgrowth of bad bacteria in your vagina. Common signs of BV include thin, grey, white, or green vaginal discharge; a foul-smelling or “fishy” vaginal odor; and itching or burning during urination.
The key to getting relief for your vaginal infection is a proper diagnosis. Using an at-home vaginal pH test can help you rule out a yeast infection or something like BV. If your symptoms don’t align with that of a yeast infection or BV, we’d recommend reaching out to your doctor to get a diagnosis and see what’s going on with additional testing.