One of the most common gynaecological problems in women is excessive vaginal discharge. Some amount of vaginal discharge is normal in the reproductive age group- only if it becomes copious, foul-smelling, itchy or of altered colour it needs attention.
Vaginal candidiasis also called vaginal thrush or moniliasis is caused by a yeast-like organism called Candida albicans and presents with thick curdy white vaginal discharge and perineal itch. It can also cause painful coitus.
Usually seen after intercourse, during pregnancy, in women with uncontrolled diabetes, or after a course of antibiotics or with poor perineal hygiene and low immunity. Most of the times the partner may also have burning or itching of the private part following intercourse.
Now, let’s discuss ways to prevent vaginal infection-
● It starts with good perineal hygiene- it means keeping your intimate area clean. wash with lukewarm water and keep it dry. over the counter vaginal washes, harsh soaps, sprays , perfumes should be avoided as it can change the balance of the normal flora in the vagina
● After using the washroom, private parts should be cleaned from front to back and not vice-versa or else organism can find its way into the vagina
● Regular use of fresh dry cotton undergarments on a daily basis –synthetic undergarments should not be used on a regular basis as the fabric is not breathable. Never use wet undergarments. Wetness invites infection
● Using condoms when getting sexually intimate not only prevents sexually transmitted disease but also unwanted pregnancies
● Monogamous relationship-that means having one partner again is something that avoids cross-infection
● Avoid taking unnecessary medications without prescription- especially antibiotics which can alter the vaginal flora in favour of fungal infection
● Maintaining good health and ideal weight with a healthy diet and regular exercises develops immunity and prevents infection
● If having any medical conditions like diabetes mellitus, keeping it under control prevents vaginal infection
● When a partner is having any infection in the private parts, to refrain from sexual activity till it is cured
If having any symptoms of vaginal infection, women should not feel shy or try to hide and suffer silently. It is very much curable. Instead, the couple should reach out to their doctor for proper guidance, treatment and support.
The article has been authored by Dr Karamjit Kaur, MBBS, MD (Obstetrician and Gynaecology), Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaec Laparoscopic Surgeon, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore