Recently we covered the ways you can help stay clear of yeast infections in summer, but what if your symptoms are telling you something else?
Yeast infections – also known as thrush – are so common, many women think they have them when in fact it’s something else.
So if you have thrush-like symptoms like itching, burning, discharge or pain, here are five (other) things, besides a yeast infection, that it could be.
5 vaginal infections that aren’t thrush (but look or feel like it)
Herpes, a common and extremely contagious STI, causes painful sores on the genitals. Often these occur on the outside of the vagina, but sometimes they may develop inside, too – and in this case, they can cause itching and burning, much like thrush. Herpes isn’t curable, but it is treatable, which can prevent future outbreaks.
Read more: 5 Myths about STIs, debunked!
Also known as trich, this is another very common STI, causing a foul-smelling greenish-yellow discharge along with genital itching and pain when urinating. Unlike herpes, it’s easily treatable, usually with a course of antibiotics prescribed to both partners (even though men typically display no symptoms).
3. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
BV is caused by an overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria in the vagina, which causes the natural acidity of the vagina to become much more alkaline. BV is usually the result of poor hygiene, and/or poor health in general, and/or the use of IUD contraceptives, and/or transferring E. coli bacteria from the anus to the vagina during sex or wiping from back to front, rather than front to back. Symptoms include burning and itching of the vagina, and/or a grey or greyish white discharge with a fishy smell. Unpleasant as the symptoms may be, they’re easily treated with antibiotics.
4. A sensitivity or allergic reaction
Using a new soap or washing powder? Douching or washing too vigorously? The vagina’s delicate pH balance is easily disturbed, and when this happens, you may experience itching, discharge or other irritating symptoms.
Another common but serious STI, this one, if left untreated, can lead to infertility. Gonorrhoea can cause pain the vagina, painful urination, and vaginal discharge which may be thin or watery, and green or yellow in colour. If your symptoms sound like this, get to your doctor, gynae or sexual healthcare clinic ASAP.
Whatever your suspicions, get your symptoms checked out
Your symptoms may be indicated something easily and quickly treatable, but they may also be giving you important insight into something more serious. Don’t take a chance – always make 100% sure so you can be treated early and prevent more serious issues in future.
If you’re experiencing symptoms you’re uncertain about, we can help. Simply pop into your nearest Marie Stopes centre to put your mind at ease.