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Women’s Wellness

Published: May 4, 2010

Your health rocks!

Dr. Machelle M. Seibel, leading expert in women’s health and founder of HealthRock, a company that teaches health literacy through music and entertainment, answers questions women are afraid to ask.

What is the difference between a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis?

Most women will have a vaginal infection at some time in their lives. Many will assume it is due to yeast. But it’s easy for women to confuse bacterial vaginosis (BV) with yeast infections. Here is why it matters.

Research shows that two-thirds of the women who suspect they have a yeast infection actually suffer from BV—a condition that occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of disease-causing bacteria.

Health professionals prescribe the antiobiotics metronidazole or clindamycin for BV. Left untreated, the infection can increase the chances of premature birth, urinary tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Symptoms of a yeast infection include itching, burning and an odorless thick vaginal discharge.  Signs of BV include itching, burning, and a discharge that typically has a fishy odor, especially after having sex.

But if you aren’t sure which type of infection your symptoms indicate, absolutely see your doctor for a BV screening before applying over-the-counter yeast treatments. And, when antibiotics are required, be sure to use all of the medicine, even if BV signs and symptoms go away.

Check out healthrockwomen.com for more about women’s and children’s health from author, songwriter, and popular speaker Dr. Seibel.

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