Vaginal Discharge, Itching, and Odor Treatments Questions and Answers
If you are experiencing itching and smelly discharge, there are treatments available in Chicago, IL. Talk to Dr. Michelle Trandai, MD, who provides comprehensive treatments for women’s problems. For more information, call us today or visit us online to book an appointment.
Table of Contents:
What causes itching and smelly discharge?
Can discharge cause itchiness?
How do I know if I have a yeast infection or BV?
What is the treatment for smelly discharge?
Vaginal itching with or without a smelly discharge can be caused by a few different issues. When the itching occurs in conjunction with a discharge that has an unpleasant odor, it is usually the sign of an infection, whether that’s a yeast infection that is caused by a fungus, bacterial vaginosis caused by an overgrowth of naturally occurring bacteria, or another infection that is spread through sexual contacts such as chlamydia, trichomoniasis or gonorrhea.
Low estrogen levels and menopause, a forgotten tampon or other foreign body, or chemicals from detergents, creams, or other substances that come in contact with the vagina can also cause itching and foul odors. Your OBGYN can help you determine the exact cause of your itching and smelly discharge by asking you questions about your symptoms and when they started, as well as performing a physical exam where they will take a swab to get tested to determine the exact cause.
Treatment is available for most cases of vaginal itching that is accompanied by a smelly discharge, depending on the cause. In some cases, such as yeast infections, over-the-counter treatment options are available. For other cases, a prescription is required for treatment.
Vaginal itchiness can be caused by several things but typically discharge is not a cause for itchiness. Both discharge and itchiness, either combined or on their own, are typically a sign that there is something not right with your vagina. While some discharge is natural, it should be clear and odorless.
Some itching may be natural as well, as the result of sweating or razor burn for example. In these cases, it will clear up on its own with a bit of care and gentle cleaning to the area. When the itching is severe or lasts over the course of a few days without relief and is accompanied by a foul-smelling discharge, you should get checked out by a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. They will be able to determine the cause of the itching and can provide you with options for relief.
Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are very similar in their symptoms and are both caused by naturally occurring organisms that live in the vagina. In both cases, there is typically itching around the vaginal area and a discharge with an unpleasant odor. Yeast infections are a fungal infection that is caused by an overgrowth of the naturally occurring yeast in the body.
Bacterial vaginosis on the other hand is a bacterial infection that is the result of the bacterial balance in the body getting thrown off. With both conditions, women may experience vaginal discharge that is white or grayish in color. Your doctor can determine the exact cause through a physical exam that includes a swab of the vagina to collect a tissue sample to be tested for both conditions.
Your OBGYN may also be able to provide a diagnosis based on your symptoms, particularly the smell or consistency of your discharge. Each type of infection can cause an increase in discharge, with bacterial vaginosis giving off a fishy smell from the discharge and a yeast infection producing a discharge that has an almost cottage cheese-like texture to it.
The treatment for smelly discharge will be dependent on the cause. In most cases, the discharge with an unpleasant odor is the result of an infection in the vagina. Treatment can come in the form of an over-the-counter or prescribed gel or cream that is applied to the outside of the affected area, a suppository that is inserted into the vaginal canal, or through a prescription pill. Your OBGYN can determine the cause of the unpleasant smell of your discharge and either prescribe you a medication to clear it up or suggest an over-the-counter treatment available through any drugstore.
Many pills can clear up the symptoms with just a single dose, although it may take a few days for them to clear up completely. If the smelly discharge is accompanied by itching, your OBGYN may also suggest using an external cream to provide relief while the medication kicks in and clears up the infection.
If you have any questions or concerns, then reach out to Dr. Michelle Trandai, MD, today to learn more about treatment options. We serve patients from Chicago IL, Evanston IL, Ravenswood IL, Uptown IL, Lake View IL, Lincoln Park IL, Buena Park IL, Bowmanville IL, Boystown IL, and Roscoe Village, IL.