By Dr. Sumana Talakokkula, Gynaecology
Vaginal infections during pregnancy are not difficult to diagnose once they start showing symptoms. Constant vaginal discharge is often not a good sign. An abnormal increase in the hormone level of the body makes it even more susceptible to contract vaginal infections. It is usually of four kinds, with individually different causes and symptoms. They are:
• Bacterial Vaginosis – This is the most common form of vaginal infections occurring during pregnancy. It occurs due to an increase in bacterial growth in the vagina, brought about by hormonal fluctuations. It involves a weak grayish discharge with itching and pain during urinating as its primary symptoms.
• Yeast infection- This is a fungal infection, brought about by an overgrowth of a certain strain of Candida, a vaginal fungus. Increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone create the optimal conditions for the fungus. This also happens due to excessive intake of antibiotics. Symptoms include redness and itching in the vagina, swelling in the labia, dense yellowish white discharge and smell similar to that of a mould. In addition to this, there could also be a burning sensation while urinating or pain during sexual intercourse.
• Group B Strep- Also known as GBS, it is caused by GBS bacteria which exist in the intestine, vagina and rectum of all healthy sexually active women. GBS tests are a mandatory examination during pregnancy and it is very rare to contract serious GBS infections. Most cases are easily treatable. GBS infections may lead to UTI or Urinary Tract Infection in some women. Apart from symptoms of UTI, which include sudden urinal urges or burning while urinating, GBS infections do not have other symptoms.
• Trichomoniasis- Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the contagious Trichomoniasis Vaginalis parasite and can be easily cured. Greenish discharge with pungent fishy odor and all sorts of irritation during vaginal intercourse are common symptoms of Trichomoniasis.