What Is The Difference Between A Yeast Infection And Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Vaginitis: The Lowdown on What’s Down Low
Irritation, itchiness, unwanted discharge… yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (otherwise known as BV) are the top two most common forms of vaginitis in the United States. They’re uncomfortable, they’re frustrating, and they’re downright annoying. But what exactly are they, and how do you get rid of them?
Let’s talk about Yeast Infections.
As previously stated, yeast infections are incredibly common. In fact, 75 percent of all women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. Yeast infections usually occur when there is an overabundance of the fungus candida albicans. Although your vagina naturally produces candida and yeast, it also produces lactobacillus to maintain a healthy balance. Every once in a while an overabundance of candida may be produced and pushed deeper into cell layers in your vagina. When this happens, a yeast infection occurs.
Think of it like a war on your vagina.
You have a bunch of soldiers (lactobacillus), and are holding a few hostages (candida albicans) from the opposing army behind the walls of your fortress (the vagina). The hostages pose no threat because they’re under lock and key and heavily guarded by your trusty soldiers. However, should the opposing army break through your fortress, your soldiers will be outnumbered and no longer able to protect you from… *insert ominous music here*… a yeast infection.
Yeast infections come with a whole slew of nasty little inconveniences. Some of these include:
- Thick, vaginal discharge, with the likeness of cottage cheese
- Vaginal pain
- Itching and burning
To help prevent a yeast infection, avoid douching, stay away from hot tubs, ditch the overly constrictive underwear and leggings, and change out of wet clothes immediately after swimming. Most yeast infections can usually be treated by over-the-counter medications.
Now let’s talk about Bacterial Vaginosis.
Although half of those with bacterial vaginosis don’t show any symptoms, BV can still be just as much of a headache as a yeast infection. BV is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and an upset pH balance. Remember the aforementioned war reference? Replace the fungus candida with the bacteria gardnerella vaginalis and it’s a near identical situation.
Signs of bacterial vaginosis include:
- Itching and burning
- Fishy odor
- Grayish vaginal discharge
- Pain in the vagina
Although BV isn’t a sexually transmitted disease, research shows that women who have multiple sex partners tend to get BV more often than those who do not. To prevent bacterial vaginosis, make sure to use condoms during intercourse. Also avoid douching, as it can upset your body’s natural pH balance.
Unlike a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis cannot be treated by over-the-counter medications. If you think you may have BV, schedule an appointment with your doctor so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic.
Overview yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are common forms of vaginitis. Although they can be uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing, there’s no need to fret. A simple trip to your local pharmacy or doctor’s office will have you feeling right as rain in no time!
Of course we also recommend trying V-Blissful products to help maintain a health vagina! It's natural ingredients work wonders to help keep that pH level "right as rain!"