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Vaginal infections can cause itching, odor, discomfort, and painful intercourse. Although many women assume they have a yeast infection when they have symptoms of a vaginal infection and try to treat it with over the counter medications, it is important to get a definitive diagnosis from a gynecologist. Using the wrong treatment can not only fail to cure the infection but can actually make it worse. If you suspect that you have a vaginal infection, here is a look at some of the most common causes.

Doctor showing an image of the female anatomy to a patient

Yeast Infection

This type of vaginal infection is the kind with which many women are most familiar. A yeast infection occurs when there is an imbalance of bacteria happens in the vagina, allowing a type of fungus called Candida to grow. Yeast infections usually cause a thick, white discharge as well as vaginal itching and skin irritation. Over-the-counter treatments are available, but if you have persistent yeast infections, see your gynecologist to determine the cause.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Many women who think that they have yeast infections actually have bacterial vaginosis. This infection occurs as the result of falling levels of healthy, lactobacilli and increasing levels of infectious bacteria, such as Gardnerella. Bacterial vaginosis causes a thick discharge that can be either white or clear as well as a fishy odor that may be particularly noticeable during intercourse. Unlike yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis typically does not cause itching.


Trichomoniasis —or trich, as it is often called—is a sexually transmitted infection that caused by a parasite that can be transmitted through intercourse. Trich causes redness, swelling, yellow or greenish discharge, burning, and pain during urination. Your gynecologist may treat trich with an antibiotic.

Don’t let a vaginal infection go undiagnosed and untreated. See your gynecologist at Washington Surgi-Clinic today to testing and vaginal infection treatment in Washington, D.C. We provide comprehensive gynecology and pregnancy termination services with complete confidentiality. To make an appointment or learn more, please call (202) 659-9403.