Vaginal Infections

Every year, millions of cases of vaginitis (vaginal inflammation) affect women of all ages, but they are especially susceptible during the reproductive years. Fluctuating hormonal levels, bacteria, and sexual activities are just a few of the most common reasons women experience vaginal discomfort. The three most common forms of vaginitis are yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and trichomoniasis. Symptoms for all three can include some form of vaginal discharge, itching, and irritation, so it is important to understand how they are different and require specialized treatment.

Knowing your body well and understanding your symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment options will help you decide upon a course of action that is right for you.

Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, are really very common in women. As many as 1 out of 3 will suffer from one in their lifetime. The infection occurs when Candida, a fungus normally found in areas like the mouth, digestive tract and vagina, begins to multiply and invade the vaginal tissue. Normally, Candida functions alongside other microorganisms in a delicate balance. When the balance is disrupted, an overgrowth of Candida can lead to a yeast infection.


Not all women will experience noticeable symptoms of a yeast infection. If the infection is mild, the symptoms might also be very subtle. Knowing what’s normal for you will help you be aware of any changes in your vaginal health. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for the first time, consult your doctor for confirmation.

Most women have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and vulva
  • Pain when passing urine or having sex
  • Vulvar inflammation (redness, swelling, rash)
  • Vaginal pain, soreness, or burning
  • Vaginal discharge that may be thick, white, and lumpy like cottage cheese

If you experience any of the following symptoms, ask a doctor before using V Secure or Femifresh as they could be signs of another type of infection.

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash or hives
  • Lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Foul-smelling or greenish/grayish vaginal discharge
  • Missed periods
  • Frequent urination, an urgent need to difficulty passing urine


Many things can change the balance of yeast organisms normally present in the vagina. If there are too many, it can trigger a yeast infection. Triggers include:

  • Menstruation: Changes in hormone levels during a normal menstrual cycle can result in occasional or recurrent yeast infections.
  • Increased estrogen levels: Women who are taking birth control pills that have a high-dose of estrogen as well as those on estrogen hormone therapy are more susceptible to developing a yeast infection.
  • Pregnancy: Increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy make women more susceptible to recurrent yeast infections. The CDC recommends treatment with a 7-day topical Azole but never treat without consulting your doctor first.
  • Antibiotics: Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill healthy lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina, which enables yeast to overgrow.
  • Diabetes: Whether controlled or uncontrolled, diabetes puts women at higher risk for developing a yeast infection.
  • Cancer Treatments: Undergoing chemotherapy treatments create a greater risk for developing a yeast infection.
  • Impaired immune system: Women with weakened immunity from corticosteroid therapy or HIV infections are at greater risk for developing a yeast infection.

It’s good to understand that most often, yeast infections result from a type of Candida fungus known as Candida albicans, which is generally responsive to standard therapy, but other strains exist that are more resistant common treatment options. If you experience any problems treating or curing your yeast infection, consult a doctor.


If this is your first time experiencing a yeast infection or you are unsure as to whether or not you have one, consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Curing a Yeast Infection

There are two ways to cure a yeast infection—vaginally (an over-the-counter or prescription topical treatment) and orally (a pill, only available by prescription). The complete cure takes several days for both the oral pill and topical treatments, but prescription oral therapies must be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream before they start working. In fact, oral treatments may take up to 16 - 24 hours before relief of symptoms starts to occur.


While preventing a yeast infection is not always possible, there are steps that you can take to lower your risk of developing one. Bad Habits to avoid:

  • Using items that may inflame the vaginal membrane or upset the normal balance of the vagina, such as:
  • Scented detergents or powders
  • Scented toilet paper, tampons or pads
  • Perfumed soaps, bubble baths
  • Wearing wet bathing suits or tight exercise clothing that that trap sweat in the vaginal area for long periods of time
Good Habits to Practice:
  • Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear
  • Change out of wet swim suits and exercise clothes as soon as you can

When to See Your Doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if:

  • It's your first yeast infection
  • You're under 12 years of age
  • You have missed a period, are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have or suspect you may have diabetes
  • You're taking the prescription warfarin
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have recurring yeast infections
  • You may have been exposed to HIV
  • You develop other symptoms such as rash, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain
  • You have foul-smelling or greenish-grayish vaginal discharge