Vaginal Discharges and infections Sugar Land, TX

Frequent Asked Topics

What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina. Vaginitis may cause itching, burning, a bad odor, or a large amount of discharge. There are many possible causes of vaginitis, and the type of treatment depends on the cause.

Common types of vaginitis include

  • Yeast infections
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Trichomoniasis

What can cause vaginitis?

The vagina contains many organisms, such as bacteria and yeast, that are important to its normal function. A change in the normal balance of either yeast or bacteria can result in vaginitis. This causes the lining of the vagina to become inflamed. Factors that can change the normal balance of the vagina include

  • antibiotics
  • changes in hormones levels due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause
  • douching
  • spermicides
  • sexual intercourse
  • infection

How is vaginitis diagnosed?

To diagnose vaginitis, a sample of the discharge will be taken from your vagina and be examined under a microscope. Several tests may be done. Some test results may be available right away. For others, the sample must be sent to a lab, and results are ready in a few days.

To ensure the results of the tests are accurate, do not use any vaginal medications for at least 3 days before you come to the office. You also should not douche, have sex, or use spermicides before your visit.

How is vaginitis treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of the vaginitis. Treatment may be a pill, cream, or gel that is applied to the vagina.

It is important to follow treatment directions exactly, even if the symptoms go away before you finish the medication. Even though the symptoms disappear, the infection could still be present. Stopping the treatment early may cause symptoms to return.

If symptoms do not go away after the treatment is finished, or if they come back, please make another visit, a different treatment may be needed.

How can vaginitis be prevented?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of getting vaginitis:

  • Do not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented tampons.
  • Do not douche. It is better to let the vagina cleanse itself.
  • Use plain warm water to clean the vulva. Soaps and detergents can change the normal balance of organisms inside the vagina.
  • Thoroughly clean diaphragms, cervical caps, and spermicide applicators after each use.
  • Use condoms during sex.

Yeast Infections

What is a yeast infection?

Yeast infection is also known as candidiasis. It is one of the most common types of vaginal infection.

What causes yeast infections?

Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida. It normally is found in small numbers in the vagina. But when the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is altered, the yeast may overgrow and cause symptoms.

What factors increase the risk of getting a yeast infection?

  • Antibiotics—Use of some types of antibiotics increases your risk of a yeast infection. The antibiotics kill normal vaginal bacteria, which keep yeast in check. The yeast can then overgrow.
  • Pregnancy—Changes in the body’s hormone levels during pregnancy can increase the risk.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Conditions that affect the immune system—Overgrowth of yeast can occur if the immune system is not working well. For example, in women infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), yeast infections may be severe. In many cases, the cause of a yeast infection is not known.

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are itching and burning of the area outside the vagina called the vulva. The burning may be worse with urination or sex. The vulva may be red and swollen.

There may be an increase or change in vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge may be white, lumpy, and have no odor. Some women do not notice any change in discharge.

What treatments are available for vaginal yeast infection?

Yeast infections can be treated either by placing medication into the vagina or by taking a pill. In most cases, treatment of male sex partners is not necessary.

Should I use an over-the-counter medication to treat a yeast infection?

Over-the-counter treatments are safe and often effective in treating yeast infections. But many women think that they have a yeast infection when they actually have another problem. In these cases, a medication for a yeast infection will not work. It also may cause a delay in proper diagnosis and treatment of the actual problem.

Even if you have had a yeast infection before, it may be a good idea to call our office before using an over-the-counter medication to treat your symptoms. If this is the first time you have had vaginal symptoms, or you have used an over-the-counter medication but symptoms do not go away, you should make an appointment to see us first

Bacterial Vaginosis

What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance in the types of normal bacteria that live in the vagina.

What are the symptoms of BV?

The main symptom is increased discharge with a strong fishy odor. The odor may be stronger during your menstrual period or after sex. The discharge usually is thin and dark or dull gray, but may have a greenish color. Itching is not common but may be present if there is a lot of discharge.

How is BV treated?

Several different antibiotics can be used. They include metronidazole and clindamycin. They can be taken by mouth or inserted into the vagina as a cream or gel. Sexual partners do not need to be treated.

When metronidazole is taken by mouth, it can cause side effects in some patients. These include nausea, vomiting, and darkening of the urine. Do not drink alcohol when taking metronidazole. The combination can cause severe nausea and vomiting.

BV often recurs. It may require repeated treatment. In some cases, longer treatment for 3 to 6 months may be needed.


What is trichomoniasis?

Trichomoniasis is a condition caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Women who have trichomoniasis are at an increased risk of infection with other STIs.

What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?

Signs of trichomoniasis may include a yellow-gray or green vaginal discharge. The discharge may have a fishy odor. There may be burning, irritation, redness, and swelling of the vulva. Sometimes there is pain during urination.

How is trichomoniasis treated?

Trichomoniasis usually is treated by taking an antibiotic called metronidazole by mouth, either a single dose or a dosage taken over 7 days. A single dose of another medication, called tinidazole, also can be used.

Sexual partners must be treated to prevent the infection from recurring. You should not have sex until you and your partner have received treatment.