There are two main types of bacterial infections that affect the vagina: bacterial vaginosis and streptococcal vaginosis. Any kind of bacterial infection can be annoying and embarrassing, but learning more about the different types can help.
Bacterial vaginosis is the more common of the two types of bacterial infections. It results from an imbalance in vaginal conditions that allows certain kinds of bacteria to grow too much. Healthy vaginas all contain normal amounts of bacteria; it’s just when the bacteria get out of control that problems start. Bacterial vaginosis is made up of a few different kinds of bacteria, so you can’t use a treatment designed to eliminate only one type.
Symptoms and treatment of bacterial vaginosis
These two types of bacterial infections have symptoms that are slightly different. The most common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are a strange vaginal discharge and a smelly vagina. The discharge has a white or grayish coloration, and is thinner than healthy discharge. Other symptoms include itching, burning, and swelling, but these are less common.
The treatment for bacterial vaginosis usually consists of antibiotics, or prescription creams and gels. Natural cures like yogurt are popular as well.
Now on to the lesser known of the types of bacterial infections. Strep vaginosis is caused by the same situation as bacterial vaginosis, but instead of a mixture of bacteria, there’s an overgrowth of streptococcus. Ironically, strep vaginosis is often caused by the medication for bacterial vaginosis.
Symptoms and treatment of strep vaginosis
The main difference between the symptoms of bacterial and strep vaginosis is that with strep vaginosis, there usually isn’t an unpleasant scent like there is with bacterial vaginosis. Burning and itching aren’t very common with strep vaginosis either.
Treatment is similar for both types of bacterial infections, so antibiotics are used for strep vaginosis as well. The good thing about this kind of infection is that it’s caused by only one kind of bacteria, so you can use a treatment specifically made for that kind.
What to do about bacterial infections
If you suspect you have either of these types of bacterial infections, you should go to a doctor for a diagnosis immediately. They’ll be able to tell you which type of infection you have if you don’t know, and prescribe a treatment for you. Clearing up a bacterial infection is relatively easy once you know which type you have.