When I was first approached to write a bit of content talking about vaginal health and the differences between bacterial vaginosis and thrush, the first thing I thought was – AWKWARD! But then I started chatting with a few friends about this content and soon realized, it’s not awkward at all, vaginal infections are something almost every woman has struggled with at some point in her life.
I was quite fascinated to read that vaginal discharge is in fact perfectly normal, even in a healthy vaginal environment. Vaginal discharge is fluid secreted from tiny glands in the vagina and cervix. This fluid is released from the vagina each day to remove old cells and debris, keeping the vagina and reproductive tract clean and healthy.
Normal vaginal discharge varies during the course of your menstrual cycle, signaling ovulation and your fertile period Abnormal discharge can be a sign of an infection or a health condition and so it is important to understand what your discharge should look like when it is healthy or infected. The two most common vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis (BV) and thrush.
How to know the difference between BV and Thrush?
A friend described her experience with thrush as watching her dog scratch his bum on the carpet and thinking she should try to do the same! I think almost all of us can relate?
Other Thrush symptoms include:
- Thick, white, “cottage cheese-like” vaginal discharge
- Redness and swelling around the vaginal opening
- Pain, soreness, and itching of the vulva
- Burning during urination Burning during sex
Thrush is caused by a yeast infection which can develop when there is an overgrowth of the Candida fungus in the vagina. I have had a few thrush infections thanks to poor probiotic treatments along with antibiotics and it is enough to drive a woman crazy.
Bacterial Vaginosis or BV for short, is actually a more common infection than Thrush. It is caused by an overgrowth of one of several bacteria naturally found in your vagina. Ultimately the “bad” bacteria outnumber the “good” bacteria resulting in an infection. There are many factors that can trigger this imbalance and cause BV to develop. There are a lot more causes than you would think.
Here are just a few:
- Using medicated or perfumed soaps, bubble bath
- Using antiseptic liquids in the bath
- Douching or using a vaginal deodorant
- Using a strong detergent to wash underwear
- Hormonal during the menstrual cycle
- Semen in the vagina after sexual intercourse without a condom
BV symptoms include:
- A “fishy” odour that gets stronger after sex or during menstruation
- Thin grey vaginal discharge
- Minimal vaginal itching or irritation
You can take this online assessment if you’re concerned you may be suffering from BV. And of course, making sure you know the difference between BV and Thrush.
Treatment of BV
Treatment of BV can include the use of medicated gels, creams or oral treatments. This need never be a taboo subject, or awkward in any way, given that almost all of us will struggle with some form of infection at some point in our lives. If you have any additional questions or concerns, perhaps have a read over here.
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