Vaginal Health Issues

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) develops when high concentrations of “bad” bacteria” take up residence in the vagina, and push out the “good” Lactobacillus bacteria. BV can cause a “fishy odor”, which is often more pronounced following intercourse. BV also produces a pasty, grayish white discharge, and may also cause vaginal itching and redness.

The development of BV creates a vicious cycle in the vagina – the good bacteria that are normally present in the vagina protect against BV by helping to maintain a healthy pH, but when BV is present the good bacteria go away and the vaginal pH goes up, setting the stage for recurring BV. It is believed that douching contributes to this vicious cycle by washing out the good bacteria along with the bad.

Unwanted Feminine Odor

Unwanted feminine odors are often produced by odor causing bacteria that flourish in your vagina when your vulvar and vaginal pH is too high. Your vaginal pH should be about 4 (the same pH as your favorite red wine!), but many common activities such as intercourse, menstrual bleeding, douching, and sweating, can cause your pH to increase. Elevated pH can cause odor-causing bacteria to grow.

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, or any of the various species of the Candida, in the vagina or vulva. While it is normal to have small amounts of Candida in your vagina, yeast thrive in warm, moist environments, so if your vaginal ecosystem is even slightly out of balance, the yeast growth will be excessive and cause an infection.

The symptoms of a yeast infection include itching, burning, redness, vaginal swelling and soreness, and thick, white discharge that does not have a bad smell. According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 75% of women will have at least one yeast infection, and 40-45% of women will have two or more yeast infections, over the course of their lifetime. Maintaining a healthy vaginal ecosystem, with pH around 4.5 and sufficient amounts of good bacteria, can help keep yeast growth in check.


Trichomonas vaginitis is one of the most common vaginal infections. It is caused by a parasite named Trichomonas vaginalis, which is passed between partners during intercourse.

Trichomonas causes burning, irritation, redness, pain in urination, and a greenish vaginal discharge, which sometimes has a fishy odor.

Urinary Tract Infections

It is estimated that 1 in every 2 women will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetime, and many women suffer from chronic UTIs. Urinary tract infections develop when bacteria travel up the urethra into the bladder and, sometimes on to the kidneys.

Symptoms of urinary tract infections include: burning during urination, frequent urge to urinate, pain or pressure in back or lower abdomen, cloudy urine, and/or fever.  If you experience these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately.