How does a Vaginal Infection Develop?

Almost every woman is faced with a vaginal infection at least once in her life. There are different diseases, which are mainly caused by different bacteria and fungi. Viruses and other organisms can also trigger a vaginal infection, but this is much less common. The most common infections include bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection of the vagina. In some cases, mixed forms of these infections can also occur.

It is important to know

A healthy vaginal flora is predominantly colonized by healthy lactic acid bacteria, so-called lactobacilli. These are important for the defense against pathogens. They are responsible for the acidic vaginal environment, which creates unfavorable conditions for various pathogenic germs. If an infection occurs, the number of lactic acid bacteria is often reduced and other germs spread. There are some general risk factors that can favor the reduction of lactic acid bacteria:

  • Antibiotic treatment,

  • frequent unprotected sex,

  • excessive intimate hygiene,

  • hormonal fluctuations during the monthly cycle,

  • hormonal changes in menopause.

What are the most common vaginal infections?

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common vaginal infections. It is caused by an imbalance in the vaginal flora, with the otherwise dominant, health-promoting lactic acid bacteria being replaced by various other bacteria. The exact reasons for the development of this infection have not been conclusively clarified. A reduction in the protective lactic acid bacteria (risk factors see above) can favor the development of bacterial vaginosis

Yeast infection / vaginal thrush

After bacterial vaginosis, vaginal infection with yeast is the second most common vaginal infection. In most cases (85 - 95%) it is triggered by the Candida albicans pathogen. This yeast is often present in the vaginal flora, but without causing an infection. Similar to bacterial vaginosis, the weakening of one's own lactic acid bacteria and the local immune system can lead to an uncontrolled multiplication of C. albicans.

 

The vaginal milieu is dependent on hormonal fluctuations, which is why yeast infections occur with different frequency in the course of the different phases of life and the monthly cycle. Women are usually only affected from sexual maturity and until the end of menopause. Pregnant women are also at greater risk of getting a vaginal thrush. In non-pregnant women, infections most often occur around the middle of the monthly cycle (around ovulation) and immediately after menstruation.

What are the symptoms of vaginal infection?

Almost every woman is faced with a vaginal infection at least once in her life. There are different diseases, which are mainly caused by different bacteria and fungi. Viruses and other organisms can also trigger a vaginal infection, but this is much less common. The most common infections include bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection of the vagina. In some cases, mixed forms of these infections can also occur.