Most women experience minor
vaginal problems from time to time. These problems can be related to menstrual
cycles, sex, infection, birth control methods, aging, medicines, or changes
A change in your normal vaginal discharge may be
the first sign of a vaginal problem. Changes in urination, such as having to
urinate more frequently or having a burning feeling when you urinate, also may be a
symptom of a vaginal problem.
Conditions that may cause a change in
your normal vaginal discharge include:
The exact cause of pelvic pain may be hard to find. The severity of your pain and other symptoms you have may help determine what is causing the pain. For example: A condition, such as functional ovarian cysts , may cause pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding when you are not having your period.
If you think you may have symptoms of an STI:
- Do not have sexual contact or activity
while waiting for your appointment. This will prevent the spread of the
- Women should not douche. Douching changes the normal
balance of bacteria in the vagina. Douching may flush an infection up into your
uterus or fallopian tubes and cause
pelvic inflammatory infection (PID).
The presence or excess growth of
yeast cells, bacteria, or viruses can cause a vaginal infection. A vaginal
infection may occur when there is a change in the normal balance of organisms
in your vagina.
The three most common types of vaginal infections
- Candida vulvovaginitis
- Bacterial infections (bacterial
- Parasitic infections (trichomoniasis).
Common symptoms of vaginal infection include:
- Increase or change in the vaginal discharge,
including gray, green, or yellow discharge.
- Vaginal redness,
swelling, itching, or pain.
- Vaginal odor.
- Burning with urination.
- Pain or bleeding
If you are pregnant and have vaginal symptoms, talk with your doctor about your symptoms before considering
any home treatment measures. Some home treatment measures may not be
appropriate, depending on the cause of your vaginal infection. Conditions such
as bacterial vaginosis can affect your pregnancy, so it is important to talk
with your doctor and be treated appropriately.
may increase the risk for pelvic infections, such as
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Vaginal or vulvar problems
Other vaginal or vulvar
problems may occur from the use of birth control methods, the use of medicines,
or aging, or as a result of changes after pregnancy. These problems
- Vaginal prolapse, which may cause
urination and bowel changes.
- Retained tampon, birth control device,
or foreign object. See
how to remove an object from the vagina.
- Vulvar or vaginal
injury, such as landing on a metal bar such as on a bike or playground
equipment or from an object in the vagina.
- Vulvar pain (vulvodynia).
- Pudendal neuralgia, from pressure on the pudendal nerve in the genital area.
vaginitis. Examples of this include:
A young girl with unusual vaginal symptoms should be
evaluated by her doctor to determine the cause. Vaginitis in a young girl may
be caused by:
- A ball of toilet paper in her
- Pinworms that have spread from the anus
to the vagina.
- The spread of
bacteria from an upper respiratory infection of the
ears (otitis media) or throat (tonsillitis) to
the vagina by her hands.
A young girl with vaginal symptoms must also be evaluated
Rashes, sores, blisters, or lumps in the vaginal or vulvar area
Many conditions can cause a
rash, sore, blister, or lump in your vaginal area (vulva ). One of the most
common causes of a rash is
genital skin irritation that may occur when soap is
not rinsed off the skin or when tight-fitting or wet clothes rub against the
skin. A sore, blister, or lump in your vaginal area may require a visit to your
Treatment of a vaginal problem depends on the cause of
the problem, the severity of your symptoms, and your overall health
Check your symptoms to decide if and
when you should see a doctor.