Bacterial infections and yeast infections are common in women of all ages.  But if you are experiencing symptoms related to a vaginal infection, it’s important to know the type of infection you have, in order to get the right treatment.  But when it comes to a bacterial infection vs yeast infection: what’s the difference? 

Bacterial Infection Vs Yeast Infection: What’s the difference? 

Although bacterial infections and yeast infections may exhibit similar symptoms, they are caused by different micro-organisms. 

The vagina contains a balanced mix of microbes, specifically good bacteria (lactobacilli) and 30+ strains of bad bacteria but the good bacteria normally dominate.  Yeast is present in the vagina in asymptomatic state only 4% of the time.

What causes a bacterial infection?

Lactobacilli are beneficial because they protect against infection, and keep the vagina in optimal health.  However, if the balance of microbes is disrupted, it can cause the bad bacteria to become too numerous, resulting in a bacterial infection.  A seemingly harmless activity such as douching, taking antibiotics, excessive exercise or severe lifestyle stress can disrupt the vaginal microflora. 

What causes a yeast infection?

A yeast infection is caused by candida, which is a fungus that is also naturally present on the skin.  Lactobacilli keep yeast in check, as they produce lactic acid,  and a mucosal binding effect which has an anti-fungal effect.  Regular use of antibiotics is one factor that can cause an overgrowth of yeast, as it reduces the amount of lactobacilli in the vagina. 

Treating vaginal infections

Common treatments for acute bacterial yeast infection generally do not work for chronic bacterial or yeast infections. It requires more advanced diagnostic equipment than the standard ob/gyn has access to or experience with. If you are experiencing recurrent vaginal infections, Contact Fowler GYN International, Paradise Valley, AZ, for help. R. Stuart Fowler is a board certified gynecologist who has spent years doing clinical observations and research while a Gynecologic Consultant at the Mayo Clinic. You can him by calling (480) 420-4001 or fowlergyninternational.com