Sexual Health Monday August 15, 2011

Are inflammation of the vagina and painful urination signs of an STI?

Inflammation of the genitals or pain when urinating can have many causes, amongst which STIs are very likely. Finding out what's causing these symptoms and getting the right treatment is very important, not only because it can help alleviate the immediate and sometimes extremely disruptive discomfort, but it can also stop the underlying cause from resulting in long-term health problems.

The natural environment of the vagina has many different elements that all work together form a balanced ecosystem that ensures that you remain comfortable and healthy. It's extremely easy for the delicate balance to be disrupted, resulting in vaginal inflammation (vaginitis).

Vaginitis is usually signified by abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during urination, dryness during sex, a fishy odour, itching outside or inside the vagina, swelling or redness of the area and an unusual vaginal discharge that can be lumpy, frothy or discoloured. It's possible that you may only be experiencing some of these symptoms, which may help you identify the cause more easily.

Vaginal inflammation can have many different causes including bacterial STIs, viral STIs, parasitic STIs, chemicals, yeast infections, impaired health, age, stress, sex, sex toys and hormonal changes caused by menopause, pregnancy or breastfeeding. Some of these factors can easily be eliminated by adjusting the soap you use or by avoiding douching; however others may require a more intensive treatment.

Although many women with an STI don't experience symptoms, a potential indicator that the vaginal inflammation you're experiencing may be due to a bacterial, viral or parasitic STI tends to be a bad smelling discharge, pain or a burning sensation when urinating, bleeding during or after sex and intense itching. It's important that you speak to your doctor or get tested for an STI if you think that it may be the reason you are experiencing discomfort, but it's just as important that you get an expert opinion if you think that there may be another cause of your problem.

If you would like to know more about genital inflammation in men, keep an eye on our blog as next time we'll be taking a more detailed look at male penile problems and its causes and symptoms.

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