Spotlights on Health and Rights

Key topics in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health

Reproductive Health

Other Genital Tract/Reproductive Tract Infections

Trichomoniasis

  • Caused by genital tract protozoan Trichomonas vaginales.
  • Infection occurs in both men and women, though symptoms are more common in women.
  • About half of trichomoniasis infections are asymptomatic. If symptoms are present they include: frothy greenish-yellow vaginal discharge with a strong odor and/or vaginal itching and inflammation.
  • Untreated infection in pregnant women is associated with an increased risk of low birth weight and premature birth.
  • Diagnosed by wet mount (examination of vaginal fluids microscopically).
  • Treated with Metronidazole.
  • Correct and consistent condom use reduces the risk of transmission.

Vaginal Yeast Infection

  • Caused by fungus Candida albicans.
  • Usually not a sexually transmitted infection
  • Yeast infections are asymptomatic in about 10-15% of women. If there are symptoms they include inflammation, vaginal itching or discomfort, and/or white thick discharge.
  • Increased incidence among women during pregnancy, diabetes, or following antibiotic administration.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

  • Disruption of normal vaginal flora when lactobacillus is replaced by other vaginal bacteria (i.e. gardnerella, mycoplasma hominis, and various anaerobic bacteria).
  • Considered a "sexually associated" condition, but not considered a specific STI.
  • Male treatment not proven to be effective in preventing recurrence.
  • Vaginal itching and inflammation are common symptoms but asymptomatic infection is common. Treatment is recommended only for women with symptoms.
  • BV associated with an increased risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight.

Douching: Douching refers to the act of "rinsing" out the vagina with a water-based solution that often includes other substances such as vinegar or baking soda. Many women incorrectly believe that douching cleans the vagina, when in fact, douching is not good for vaginal health. Using a douche solution interferes with the vagina's self-cleansing processes, as well as disrupts the healthy pH and bacterial balance of the vagina. Discouraging douching is an important component of reproductive health education because it has been associated with vaginal irritation, bacterial or yeast infections, and an increased risk of PID and ectopic pregnancy.35 Douching prior to having cervical screening may lead to inaccurate results.