Most women experience it at least once: vaginal infections. Although annoying, vaginal infections are not contagious and cannot be transmitted. When preventing and treating vaginal infections, hygiene is key.
Vaginal infections can be caused by fungi (candida infection) or by bacteria (bacterial vaginosis). They can often be treated over the counter with medicine from the drugstore or by means of medicine prescribed by a doctor. Some women are more prone to vaginal infections than others.
It is normal for bacteria and fungi to occur in the vagina. Usually, there is a natural balance between the different types of bacteria and fungi present in the vagina. However, sometimes this balance is disrupted, causing a vaginal infection to develop.
A vaginal infection is not contagious and cannot be transmitted.
First aid for infection prevention
At Abena we help health care professionals prevent the spread of infections.
We do this by sharing our knowledge with health care professionals.
We help you to be alert to the transmission of pathogens, to take the right measures and to use the right products.
This way you minimize the risk of contamination.
There are several factors that can disturb the balance of the vagina, including the use of soap or wash products with the wrong pH value. The vagina has a natural pH value between 3.8-4.5. If you use soap or wash products with a higher pH, the pH value of the intimate parts change. Bacteria and fungi thrive better at a higher pH.
In addition, the use of drugs such as antibiotics or corticosteroids, as well as a diseases such as diabetes, can disturb the natural balance of bacteria and fungi. Hormonal changes (during pregnancy or menopause, for example) may also cause better conditions for fungi.
What is bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused by bacteria. The symptoms include a lot of unpleasant vaginal secretion with an unpleasant odor. The symptoms usually disappear on their own within a few weeks when the balance is restored. If the symptoms are annoying or the infection occurs repeatedly it can be treated with over-the-counter medicine or with medicine prescribed by a doctor.
What is a vaginal candida infection?
A vaginal candida infection is a vaginal infection caused by fungi. The symptoms include itching in the vagina, white, sometimes cottage-cheese-like vaginal discharge without smell, a red, swollen and painful mucous membrane of the vagina and pain or a burning sensation, whether or not when urinating or during sexual intercourse. A vaginal candida infection usually passes automatically when the balance is restored. If the symptoms are annoying or the infection occurs repeatedly, it can be treated with over-the-counter medicine or with medicine prescribed by a doctor.
Prevention does not always work, especially not if the cause of the infection if is an underlying disease or medication use. Therefore it is important to investigate the cause of the infection in order to prevent future infections.
In general, the vagina cleans itself and the intimate parts do not have to be washed, and certainly not with soap; water is often sufficient. However, there are cases where soap is necessary, for example if a patient suffers from fecal incontinence.
If you use soap, be sure to use a wash product with a low pH specially made for the intimate parts.
Gloves: Essential as protective device in health care, gloves come in various shapes and sizes. But not all gloves are suitable for working in health care. Which glove should you use, and how? Read more.
Protective wear: Use approved protective wear to protect the patient and the caregiver. Make sure you have the right products at your disposal – and you know how and when to use them. Read more.
Ensure proper toilet hygiene with products such as Abri-bag, good for preventing infections for patients with functional incontinence.
Gentle and hygienic skin care products, such as intimate wash and intimate care gloves, with a low pH specially made for the intimate parts.