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Most women experience minor
vaginal problems from time to time. These problems can be related to menstrual
cycles, sex, infection, birth control methods, aging, medicines, or changes
A change in your normal vaginal discharge may be
the first sign of a vaginal problem. Changes in urination, such as having to
urinate more frequently or having a burning feeling when you urinate, also may be a
symptom of a vaginal problem.
Conditions that may cause a change in
your normal vaginal discharge include:
The exact cause of pelvic pain may be hard to find. The severity of your pain and other symptoms you have may help determine what is causing the pain. For example: A condition, such as functional ovarian cysts, may cause pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding when you are not having your period.
If you think you may have symptoms of an STI:
The presence or excess growth of
yeast cells, bacteria, or viruses can cause a vaginal infection. A vaginal
infection may occur when there is a change in the normal balance of organisms
in your vagina.
The three most common types of vaginal infections
Common symptoms of vaginal infection include:
If you are pregnant and have vaginal symptoms, talk with your doctor about your symptoms before considering
any home treatment measures. Some home treatment measures may not be
appropriate, depending on the cause of your vaginal infection. Conditions such
as bacterial vaginosis can affect your pregnancy, so it is important to talk
with your doctor and be treated appropriately.
may increase the risk for pelvic infections, such as
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Other vaginal or vulvar
problems may occur from the use of birth control methods, the use of medicines,
or aging, or as a result of changes after pregnancy. These problems
A young girl with unusual vaginal symptoms should be
evaluated by her doctor to determine the cause. Vaginitis in a young girl may
be caused by:
A young girl with vaginal symptoms must also be evaluated
Many conditions can cause a
rash, sore, blister, or lump in your vaginal area (vulva). One of the most
common causes of a rash is
genital skin irritation that may occur when soap is
not rinsed off the skin or when tight-fitting or wet clothes rub against the
skin. A sore, blister, or lump in your vaginal area may require a visit to your
Treatment of a vaginal problem depends on the cause of
the problem, the severity of your symptoms, and your overall health
Check your symptoms to decide if and
when you should see a doctor.
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A vaginal infection may clear up
without treatment in 2 or 3 days.
If you have symptoms of a
vaginal yeast infection and have been diagnosed and
treated by your doctor for this condition in the past, you may want to try
using a nonprescription medicine, such as tioconazole (for example, Vagistat),
clotrimazole (for example, Gyne-Lotrimin), or miconazole (for example,
Monistat) to treat your symptoms.
your symptoms do not improve with home treatment, contact your
doctor. Vaginal symptoms that may be related to another type of vaginal
infection or a cervical infection need to be evaluated.
take the blood-thinning medicine warfarin (Coumadin) and use a nonprescription
vaginal yeast-fighting medicine, such as Monistat, may have increased bruising
and abnormal bleeding. Consult with your doctor before using a yeast-fighting
medicine if you take warfarin.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
If you practice good genital hygiene, you can also help prevent infection:
Take antibiotics when needed, but avoid unnecessary use of
antibiotics. Taking antibiotics exposes you to the risks of
allergic reactions and antibiotic side effects (such
as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and yeast infections). Also, antibiotics may
kill good bacteria.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
February 1, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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