Vaginal Infections

Every year, millions of cases of vaginitis (vaginal inflammation) affect women of all ages, but they are especially susceptible during the reproductive years.2 Fluctuating hormonal levels, bacteria, and sexual activities are just a few of the most common reasons women experience vaginal discomfort. The three most common forms of vaginitis are yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and trichomoniasis. Symptoms for all three can include some form of vaginal discharge, itching, and irritation, so it is important to understand how they are different and require specialized treatment.

Knowing your body well and understanding your symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment options will help you decide upon a course of action that is right for you.

Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, are really very common in women. As many as 1 out of 3 will suffer from one in their lifetime. The infection occurs when Candida, a fungus normally found in areas like the mouth, digestive tract and vagina, begins to multiply and invade the vaginal tissue. Normally, Candida functions alongside other microorganisms in a delicate balance. When the balance is disrupted, an overgrowth of Candida can lead to a yeast infection.3

Symptoms

Not all women will experience noticeable symptoms of a yeast infection. If the infection is mild, the symptoms might also be very subtle. Knowing what’s normal for you will help you be aware of any changes in your vaginal health. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for the first time, consult your doctor for confirmation.

Most women have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and vulva
  • Pain when passing urine or having sex
  • Vulvar inflammation (redness, swelling, rash)
  • Vaginal pain, soreness, or burning
  • Vaginal discharge that may be thick, white, and lumpy like cottage cheese

If you experience any of the following symptoms, ask a doctor before using MONISTAT®, as they could be signs of another type of infection.

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash or hives
  • Lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Foul-smelling or greenish/grayish vaginal discharge
  • Missed periods
  • Frequent urination, an urgent need to difficulty passing urine

Causes

Many things can change the balance of yeast organisms normally present in the vagina. If there are too many, it can trigger a yeast infection.

Triggers include:

  • Menstruation: Changes in hormone levels during a normal menstrual cycle can result in occasional or recurrent yeast infections.
  • Increased estrogen levels: Women who are taking birth control pills that have a high-dose of estrogen as well as those on estrogen hormone therapy are more susceptible to developing a yeast infection.
  • Pregnancy: Increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy make women more susceptible to recurrent yeast infections. The CDC recommends treatment with a 7-day topical Azole, like MONISTAT®, but never treat without consulting your doctor first.
  • Antibiotics: Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill healthy lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina, which enables yeast to overgrow.
  • Diabetes: Whether controlled or uncontrolled, diabetes puts women at higher risk for developing a yeast infection.
  • Cancer Treatments: Undergoing chemotherapy treatments create a greater risk for developing a yeast infection.
  • Impaired immune system: Women with weakened immunity from corticosteroid therapy or HIV infections are at greater risk for developing a yeast infection.

It’s good to understand that most often, yeast infections result from a type of Candida fungus known as Candida albicans, which is generally responsive to standard therapy, but other strains exist that are more resistant common treatment options. If you experience any problems treating or curing your yeast infection, consult a doctor.

Treatments

If this is your first time experiencing a yeast infection or you are unsure as to whether or not you have one, consult your doctor for a diagnosis. If you know that it is a yeast infection from past experience and are familiar with the symptoms you can try MONISTAT®. MONISTAT® can begin to relieve symptoms soon after the first dose, with a full cure after 7 days.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an infection, but think that it might not be a yeast infection, you can use the MONISTAT COMPLETE CARE Vaginal Health Test to help determine if you need to see a doctor.

Curing a Yeast Infection

Curing a Yeast Infection

There are two ways to cure a yeast infection—vaginally (an over-the-counter or prescription topical treatment) and orally (a pill, only available by prescription). The complete cure takes several days for both the oral pill and topical treatments, but prescription oral therapies must be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream before they start working. In fact, oral treatments may take up to 16 - 24 hours before relief of symptoms starts to occur. The MONISTAT® 1 Complete Therapy Ovule Treatment, on the other hand, begins to relieve symptoms in 4 hours because it works at the site of the infection.

Yeast Infection Treatments Comparison

MONISTAT® Complete Therapy Leading Oral Prescription Pill
Availability Over the counter at many local stores and pharmacies Requires a prescription from a doctor and can only be purchased at pharmacies
Speed of Relief Begins to relieve symptoms 4x faster* Can take 16-24 hours to start to relieve symptoms
Mode of Treatment Topical – product applied directly to the area of infection Oral – pill must be absorbed into the body and travel through the bloodstream to work

*Starts to relieve faster than fluconazole. Faster for onset of symptom relief (symptoms include itching, irritation, and burning). Based on clinical study comparing onset of symptom relief of MONISTAT® 1 Combination Pack Ovule treatment with the leading Rx.

The Benefits of choosing MONISTAT®

Faster symptom relief. Because MONISTAT® is available without a prescription, women who have had previous yeast infections and are experiencing the same symptoms can get relief on demand. MONISTAT® is as effective as the leading Oral Rx. MONISTAT® 1 Combination Pack starts to relieve symptoms 4x faster than the leading oral Rx.

MONISTAT® targets the source of infection. MONISTAT® is a topical treatment—it’s placed directly into the vagina at the source of infection. Oral pills need to be digested and absorbed into the blood stream before they start working. In fact, oral Rx treatments may take up to 16 – 24 hours before relief of symptoms start to occur.

MONISTAT® comes in a variety of effective treatment systems that cater to your specific needs. These include:

  • Complete Therapy - contains the cure, external relief cream, and Cool Wipes
  • Cure and Itch Relief - contains the cure and external itch relief cream
  • Simple Cure - contains just the cure

Prevention

While preventing a yeast infection is not always possible, there are steps that you can take to lower your risk of developing one.

Bad Habits to avoid:
  • Using items that may inflame the vaginal membrane or upset the normal balance of the vagina, such as:
    • Scented detergents, feminine sprays or powders
    • Scented toilet paper, tampons or pads
    • Perfumed soaps, bubble baths
  • Wearing wet bathing suits or tight exercise clothing that that trap sweat in the vaginal area for long periods of time

Good Habits to Practice:

  • Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear
  • Change out of wet swim suits and exercise clothes as soon as you can

When to See Your Doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if:

  • It's your first yeast infection
  • You're under 12 years of age
  • You get an abnormal result from the MONISTAT COMPLETE CARE Vaginal Health Test
  • You have missed a period, are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have or suspect you may have diabetes
  • You're taking the prescription warfarin
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have recurring yeast infections
  • You may have been exposed to HIV
  • You develop other symptoms such as rash, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain
  • You have foul-smelling or greenish-grayish vaginal discharge
  • You're using MONISTAT® and there is no improvement in symptoms within 3 days
  • You're using MONISTAT® and symptoms last more than 7 days

If you are unsure of what to ask or uncomfortable speaking with your doctor regarding yeast infection concerns, download our Doctor Discussion Guide. It will help you start the conversation.

Doctor Discussion Guide

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, is a bacterial infection that arises when there is an imbalance between the “bad” bacteria and the “good” bacteria normally found in the vagina. The reasons that women develop BV are not completely known, but it is most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age.

For more information on BV, visit the CDC’s website.

Symptoms

84% of women do not experience any symptoms of BV while they are infected.

It's true that the majority of women with BV do not experience any symptoms; however, when symptoms are present, they can include4 :

  • Thin, white (milky) or gray vaginal discharge that adheres to the vaginal wall
  • A fishy odor that is strongest after sex or urinating
  • Itching or irritation around the outside of the vagina

Causes

Although it is the most common infection among women of childbearing age, not much is known about the way women get BV. There are a few activities and behaviors that have statistically shown an increased risk of developing BV including:

  • Douching
  • Having a new or multiple sex partners
  • Using an IUD (intrauterine device) as birth control
  • Not using protection during sex

Treatment

Bacterial Vaginosis is usually treated with specialized antibiotics either taken orally or via vaginal applicator. At this time, there is no FDA approved over the counter treatment for BV. A doctor must diagnose and prescribe the treatment necessary to cure BV. Women who are infected can pass the infection on to female partners, though male partners are generally unaffected.

If left untreated, BV can increase the risk of:

  • PID – Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Contracting and passing on HIV and other STDs

Prevention

The exact cause of how women develop BV still remains unknown. Therefore it is difficult to say with certainty how we can prevent contracting the infection. However, it is best to avoid those behaviors that have been shown to increase your chances of developing BV.

Good Habits to Practice:

  • Have regular pelvic exams
  • Have protected sex
  • Finishing all medication for BV

Bad Habits to avoid:

  • Douching
  • Having multiple sex partners

When to See Your Doctor

BV can cause an elevation in vaginal pH, so if you’ve taken a vaginal pH test like MONISTAT COMPLETE CARE Vaginal Health Test and received a positive result, you should follow up with your doctor. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose and treat BV. At this time there is no FDA approved over the counter treatment for BV.

If you are unsure of what to ask or uncomfortable speaking with your doctor regarding your feminine health concerns, download our Doctor Discussion Guide. It will help you start the conversation.

Doctor Discussion Guide

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by an infection by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Spread by having unprotected sex with someone who is already carrying the parasite, trichomoniasis is the most common, curable STD in the United States.5 Infection is more common in women than in men.

According to the CDC, as many as 3.7 million people are estimated to have the infection, but nearly 70% do not report having consistent symptoms of trichomoniasis.5 The infection can still be transferred from person to person when symptoms aren’t present which makes trichomoniasis difficult to control.

For more information on Trichomoniasis see the CDC’s website.

Symptoms

In women, the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite most commonly is found in the lower genital tract. The vulva, vagina, and urethra can all be affected.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching, burning, redness of the vulvovaginal area
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Pain during sex
  • A strong foul vaginal odor
  • Frothy yellow-green vaginal discharge

Causes

Trichomoniasis is spread from person to person through unprotected sexual contact with a person who is already infected. It can be passed from male to female, female to male, and from female to female through genital contact. The parasite does not commonly infect other areas of the body.

Treatment

On average, 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after seeking treatment.

Diagnosis requires examination by a doctor and laboratory tests to confirm the presence of the parasite responsible for trichomoniasis. Infection can be treated and cured with single-dose oral antibiotics. The infection can reoccur after being cured, so any sexual partners should be informed so that they can also seek treatment. On average, 1 in 5 people get infected again within 3 months after seeking treatment.5 At this time, there is no over the counter treatment for trichomoniasis.

Prevention

The best way to prevent contracting trichomoniasis is to practice safe sex and avoid having sex with partners who have not been tested for STDs. It is also best to avoid sexual contact while being treated for trichomoniasis.

When to See Your Doctor

Trichomoniasis can cause an elevation in vaginal pH, so if you’ve taken a vaginal pH test like MONISTAT COMPLETE CARE Vaginal Health Test and received a positive result, you should follow up with your doctor. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose and treat trichomoniasis.

If you are unsure of what to ask or uncomfortable speaking with your doctor regarding your feminine health concerns, download our Doctor Discussion Guide. It will help you start the conversation.

Doctor Discussion Guide