Vaginal Infections and PID
Every woman has yeast in her vagina at all times. However, when yeast grows too much, it can cause burning when urinating, itching, and a heavy, clumpy kind of discharge -- sort of like cottage cheese. Yeast infections commonly occur when a woman is taking antibiotics, because the medication kills off the bacteria that keep the yeast under control.
The term "nonspecific vaginitis" is used to describe a variety of bacterial infections in the vagina. Two of the names you will hear for bacterial infections are Hemophilus or Gardnerella vaginalis. Usually a heavy discharge from an overgrowth of some type of bacteria will be yellowish to greenish and runny, with a strong odor.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is an infection of the reproductive organs in a woman. It is caused by different sexually transmitted diseases, usually untreated Chlamydia or gonorrhea. PID is very serious and can make it impossible for women to have children, or cause a tubal pregnancy (here the fetus develops in a fallopian tube instead of in the uterus).
PID seems to be more common in women who use an IUD to prevent pregnancy, have many sexual partners, and/or who douche.
Like other STIs, women may have no symptoms at all until the infection has gotten very bad. When there are symptoms, they may include:
- An unusual yellow or white discharge from the vagina
- Bleeding between periods and right after sex
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain during pelvic exams
- Heavy or painful periods (more so than usual)
- Cramps, fever, chills, and nausea
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