Like any organ in the human body, vaginal health is an essential part of a woman’s overall well-being. Changes in vaginal health can impact, not only your overall health, fertility, libido and self-confidence, but even your relationship with your partner. But what are the signs and symptoms you should keep an eye on?
A constant itching or burning sensation
An itch or burning are common symptoms of vaginal infections brought on because of the imbalance between the good and the bad bacteria in your vagina. A prolonged itch should be checked by a health professional.
Bleeding During or After Intercourse
While it is normal for women new to sexual intercourse to experience bleeding, if this becomes a reoccurring issue, medical advice should be sought. Bleeding can indicate a vaginal infection, micro tears in the delicate tissue, vaginal dryness or an STD, like chlamydia. Learn more about the different types of STDs HERE.
Bumps or Blisters
A bump or blister on your outer vagina can be a sign of vaginal cancer. The bump may start as a mole, but in time change colour and/or texture, becoming a hard bump or a lesion. Any bumps or blisters in your intimate area should be checked by a health professional. Read more about the signs and symptoms of vaginal cancer HERE.
Vaginal atrophy is a condition which occurs when the levels of estrogen in the body reduce, which can cause your vagina to become dry, thin and inflamed. The drying and thinning of the vaginal walls can be uncomfortable and can lead to urinary tract infections. This can be as a result of menopause.
Usually associated with urinary tract infections; painful urination is also one of the most common symptoms of many vaginal infections, including a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
Genital Yeast Infection (Genital Candidiasis) is an infection experienced by 3 out of 4 adult women at least once in their lifetime. It appears when there is an imbalance in the vagina, usually caused by pregnancy, diabetes, medicines or lubricants. The symptoms include: extreme itchiness, redness, the swelling of the vagina and vulva, painful urination, discomfort during sex, and a thick, white “cottage cheese” discharge from the vagina. However, these symptoms can be similar to other infections such as bacterial vaginosis and STDs, so visiting your GP is recommended. Learn more about Genital Candidiasis HERE.
While vaginal discharge is common and healthy, there are still certain warning signs you should be aware of; any changes in its smell, colour or texture might be a sign of infection.
For example, a fishy smell (particularly after intercourse) usually indicates the presence of Bacterial Vaginosis, a common infection of the vagina, mostly harmless and easy to treat. This infection doesn’t usually cause any soreness or itchiness, but a thin, watery discharge, either grey or white in colour. Bacterial vaginosis can be easily treated. Visit your GP if you are unsure whether your symptoms represent a bacterial vaginosis infection or some other vaginal infection.