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.