Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infection (thrush) are different types of Vaginitis or vaginal inflammation. Bacterial Vaginosis typically results from an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina. In contrast, an overgrowth of Candida fungus causes a yeast infection (thrush). Bacterial Vaginosis and a yeast infection (thrush) can cause similar symptoms, though there are differences. BV and yeast infections have very different causes, symptoms and treatments. These are two separate infections as different issues cause them, requiring different treatments.
Go through the article and know the difference between both vaginal infections.
The vagina is a muscular canal that runs from the cervix to the outside of the body, lined by a mucus membrane. The vagina is about 6 to 7 inches long. The part of the vagina that is usually visible from the outside is the vaginal opening.
A vagina contains both good and bad vaginal flora and bacteria. Bacterial Vaginosis results from the harmful or anaerobic bacteria disrupting that balance and becoming overgrown. It may be a result due to several types of bacteria. The typical overgrowth is due to the Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria. The doctor may find that the pH of the area is higher than 4.5 in BV.
BV is an inflammation of the vagina. It usually results from an infection caused by bacteria. As a result, the woman typically has itching, burning, discharge, and pain. It is a prevalent condition, and most women will have it at least once in their life.
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
The most common symptoms of vaginitis include:
- Itching or irritation of the genital area
- Slight discharge that may be white, grey, watery, or foamy
- Inflammation leading to redness and swelling of the labia majora, labia minora, and perineal area, mainly due to an excess of immune cells
- Dysuria, which is pain, burning sensation, or discomfort while urinating
- Painful sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia
- Foul or fishy vaginal odour, which gets stronger during menstruation after sex
- Stomach pain
Yeast Infection (Thrush)
Vaginal yeast infection (thrush) is a common infection caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. Candida yeast lives naturally in the mucous membranes lining the genitals. The yeast is usually in small amounts, so it doesn't cause any problems. It's mostly harmless, but symptoms may develop if yeast numbers increase.
Vaginal thrush can cause abnormal vaginal discharge, itching, or burning. The external (outer) sex organs, such as the labia, are often inflamed. As a result, the membranes lining the vagina get red and usually have a white coating. The symptoms will likely worsen a few days before your period begins. If the inflammation spreads to the external genitals, areas such as the labia might get red and swollen.
Vaginal thrush often leads to a whitish-yellowish vaginal discharge. It can be watery or chunky, like cottage cheese or curdled milk. Sex may be painful if you have a yeast infection (thrush). If the urethra is inflamed, urinating also hurts. In some cases, vaginal yeast infections don't cause any symptoms at all.
The healthy balance of microorganisms (germs) residing in the membranes is often disrupted due to the use of medications and pregnancy.
The estrogen level in the body is exceptionally high during pregnancy. As a result, it may upset the healthy balance and increase the likelihood of developing a vaginal yeast infection. In addition, taking the contraceptive pill (birth control pill) affects a woman's hormone levels in a similar way to pregnancy. So women taking the contraceptive pill are also more prone to have vaginal thrush.
Some diseases may also increase the chance of vaginal thrush. These illnesses include diabetes and other conditions that weaken the immune system. Various medications can increase the risk, too, such as antibiotics, steroids, hormone therapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Vaginal yeast infection typically occurs when too much yeast grows in the vagina, leading to inflammation. Yeast is a type of fungus. Like Bacterial Vaginosis, yeast infections are the most common causes of inflammation in the vagina and the outer part of the female genitals.
Almost 75% of women will have a vaginal yeast infection during certain phases in their lifetime. For example, women are likely to have a vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy if they have a weak immune system or taking certain medications. Other names for this infection are candidiasis or monilia.
Symptoms of Thrush
If you develop vaginal thrush, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Vaginal discomfort – itching or burning
- A thick, white clumpy discharge with a 'cottage cheese' appearance and yeasty smell
- Itching and irritation around the vagina
- Redness or swelling of the vagina or vulva
- Splits in the genital skin
- Stinging or burning while urinating or during sex
Difference between bacterial Vaginosis and Vaginal Thrush
Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infection both are prevalent infections among women. Three out of four women experience a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime. This is why; women must know what these two vaginitis infections actually are and how to treat them. Go for a pelvic exam if you have an ongoing issue. The differences between both vaginal infections are:
- Both infections cause changes in vaginal discharge. The bacterial Vaginosis discharge colour is white, grey, yellow, or greenish; the yeast infection colour is white only.
- Bacterial Vaginosis causes a thin discharge typically; yeast infection has a clumpy texture like cottage cheese.
- In BV, there is notusually redness or inflammation around the vaginal opening or on the vulva; a Yeast infection causes irritation and itching around the vagina. There may be redness or swelling of the vagina or vulva.
- BV tends to be uncomfortable rather than painful. Burning or pain while urinating or during sex may indicate a yeast infection.
- Bacterial Vaginosis has a foul or fishy vaginal odour, which gets stronger during menstruation after sex; yeast infection has no typical or specific odour associated with it. So either it has a yeasty smell or no odour at all.
- Several types of bacteria may cause BV, but the typical overgrowth is due to the Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria; yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans (a natural inhabitant in the vagina).
- Doctors recommend antibiotic medications to treat Bacterial Vaginosis, like Clindamycin, metronidazole, secnidazole, or tinidazole. The yeast infection typically requires pessaries and creams that contain anti-yeast or antifungal medicines, like clotrimazole, econazole, miconazole, or fenticonazole.
Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infection (thrush) are different types of Vaginitis or vaginal inflammation. Bacterial Vaginosis results from an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina. In contrast, an overgrowth of Candida fungus causes a yeast infection (thrush).
BV may be caused by several types of bacteria, but the typical overgrowth is due to the Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria. Vaginal yeast infection (thrush) is a common infection caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. Candida yeast lives naturally in the mucous membranes lining the genitals.
Both these forms of Vaginitis are typically accompanied by vaginal itching, burning sensations and discomfort, with a few key differences in symptoms. BV and yeast infections have very different causes, symptoms and treatments.