We’ve got 4 Body Shop pamper hampers to give away – worth R1500 each!

It’s Women’s Month and time for you to pamper yourself… with more time to spend doing the things that make you happy, and some gorgeous treats from the Body Shop.

For some of us, the greatest luxury we can gift to ourselves is  more ‘me time’ – to look after your mind, body and soul.

Feeling good begins with looking after your health – and many women suffer in silence with itching and burning ‘down there’. We’re giving you the lowdown on what can be causing your discomfort – and how to treat vaginal skin issues and discharge.

You may well wonder why it is important to know the difference between bacterial vaginosis and  thrush. They both cause vaginal discharge, don’t they?

Well, true enough, both infections do cause vaginal discharge, but the organisms responsible for the discharge and the treatment methods differ. Treatment for thrush will not have any effect on bacterial vaginosis and vice versa.

Thrush is a common vaginal infection, usually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans

The vaginal discharge associated with thrush is white, thick and may look like cottage cheese. Vaginal discharge due to thrush as a rule does not have a funky fishy odour, although some women may notice a yeasty smell.

Thrush may cause itching, soreness and redness around the vagina and vulva (the lips around the opening to the vagina), and some women may experience pain when urinating. Thrush is caused by a fungus, and treatment needs to target fungi, and not bacteria. Treatment options include anti-fungal vaginal creams, vaginal tablets or vaginal suppositories.

Bacterial vaginosis is more common than thrush, and as its name suggests, is caused by bacteria

Your vagina has its very own colony of good bacteria called Lactobacilli, which maintain a delicate balance inside the vagina. These Lactobacilli bacteria produce lactic acid to maintain a slightly acidic environment inside the vagina (pH 4.5) to ensure a healthy vaginal lining and to protect the vagina against infections.

Many harmful organisms do not grow so well in an acidic environment. When the balance is disturbed (there are too few Lactobacilli, or the pH of the vagina becomes too alkaline) harmful bacteria may grow and cause infection.

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The vaginal discharge associated with bacterial vaginosis is usually thin, white or grey, and has an unpleasant fishy odour. You may also notice that the amount of discharge is more than usual. Unlike thrush, Bacterial vaginosis does not usually result in an itchy, red or sore vulva or vagina. Treatment for Bacterial vaginosis needs to target the harmful bacteria that caused the infection. It can be easily treated with an antibiotic for a period of 5 to 7 days.

Intravaginal gel is recommended by expert health organisations around the world to treat bacterial vaginoses. This discreet gel is water-based, has no fragrance, and it is not likely to stain clothes.

It is important to realise that bacterial vaginosis and thrush are not the only two causes of vaginal discharge. If you feel uncertain about your vaginal health or discharge, please speak to your health care professional about your symptoms.

slim woman dressed in white panties, holding a red flower in her hands, close-up. Gynecology, menstruation, the concept of genital health

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.

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