Most bacteria and other microorganisms that cause chronic vaginal infections already live in the healthy vagina. A robust population of good bacteria holds the potential problems in check for most people. When this microflora becomes unbalanced, a chronic vaginal infection can occur as unwelcome microorganisms take hold.
What are the Symptoms of a Chronic Vaginal Infection?
If you have a chronic vaginal infection, you probably experience at least some of these symptoms. They all indicate an underlying altered vaginal microflora (AVMF) that allows problematic components of the microflora to thrive.
- Stinging or burning
- Tissue injury
- Pain during intercourse
These symptoms overlap with vulvodynia, inflammation, and pain in the vulva and vaginal opening. The secretions produced during a chronic vaginal infection can cause irritation and damage to the sensitive skin in these areas.
How to Treat Chronic Vaginal Infections
Vulvovaginal specialists understand that treating a chronic vaginal infection does not just mean eliminating the problem organism. Treatments like antibiotics, especially if used when not necessary, can harm your normal vaginal microflora and make your infection worse.
The symptoms of a chronic vaginal infection often happen when the approach of menopause causes levels of estrogen to drop. This slows the rate of shedding cells in the vagina and leaves the beneficial lactobacilli hungry. Appropriate estrogen management and other methods can help treat these chronic infections.
Why See A Vulvovaginal Specialist for My Vaginal Infection?
For vulvovaginal specialists like those at Fowler GYN International, chronic vaginal infections rank among the most common complaints women have about their vaginal health. Your infection should have the attention of these specialists if:
- Your symptoms disrupt your ability to enjoy life
- You avoid intercourse or other activities due to pain
- Your condition does not go away with standard treatment\
- Other doctors cannot find anything on your tests
Standard tests lack the sensitivity to pick up even subtle changes in the vaginal microflora. Vaginal fluid analysis can reveal the root cause of your infection and why you cannot get rid of it.
What is Vaginal Fluid Analysis Testing for Vaginal Infections?
This test analyzes a small sample of your vaginal secretions. Instead of testing for a few specific microorganisms, this test looks for signs of disruption and imbalance. If you have a low number of shed cells in the vagina, this may indicate an estrogen imbalance. It also affects the population of lactobacilli that feed on these shed cells. The number of lactobacilli compared to other microorganisms will suggest whether a chronic infection might be present. White blood cells in the vaginal fluid also indicate a possible infection.
Take the Next Step
The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.
You can reach FGI at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.