Vaginal problems

What problems can affect the vagina?

There are a number of problems that can affect the vagina, including:

  • Vaginitis – inflammation of the vagina. Usually caused by bacteria or yeast infections.
  • Sexual problems – this can include dyspareunia (pain during or after penetration), which may, in turn, be caused by vaginismus (involuntary spasms of the muscles of the vaginal wall) or vaginal dryness.
  • Pelvic floor relaxation – supporting ligaments and connective tissues can weaken and lead to prolapse.

Infections can also lead to a number of vaginal problems. Common infections that affect that area include:

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause vaginal problems include:

Symptoms of vaginal problems

Symptoms vary depending on the condition, but signs that indicate a problem that should be checked out by a doctor include:

  • Redness, itching, or irritation
  • Changes in the colour, smell, or quantity of vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Any lumps or bulges

Can vaginal problems be prevented?

Some vaginal problems can be prevented or the risk of getting them can be reduced.

  • Using barrier contraceptives, staying in a monogamous relationship with someone else who is sexually healthy, and cleaning sex toys after every use can all help prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Vaccinations can prevent certain diseases, such as HPV and hepatitis B.
  • Kegel exercises are recommended to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Have regular check-ups with a gynaecologist.

Which type of specialist treats vaginal problems?

Obstetricians/gynaecologists and urologists treat vaginal problems in adult women, while paediatric urologists are responsible for treating girls.

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