“Toilet Infection does not actually exists as a disease in Medicine”; Any non-medical person will refer to an infection around the Vagina as toilet infection. This article is to enlighten women especially non-medical women on what they refer to as “Toilet infection”, and also for its prevention and care. But before I continue, it is good we get some common terminologies clearly. Toilet Infection: This term does not exist in the medical field. If someone says “I have toilet infection” they could be referring to infection affecting the Vagina, or Sexually Transmitted Infections. Sexually Transmitted Infection: This refers to infection that is transmitted mainly by sex. But it must not affect the Vagina. It can affect anywhere in the body and can affect both male and female. I said “mainly by sex” because sexually transmitted infections can be gotten even without sex such as Hepatitis, Human Papilloma Virus infection and HIV; also Gonorrhea can be transmitted to a baby from the mother through child birth. Vaginal Infections : These are infections that affect the Vagina and could be cause by three major types of germs or agents. They are transmitted “mostly” by carelessness, or poor personal hygiene rather than sex. Vaginitis : This refers to the redness, soreness, and pain experience in the Vagina when you have Toilet(Vaginal) Infections. I will continue to use the term “Toilet Infection” to refer to the correct term “Vaginal Infections” because the Medically, We know Vaginal Infection, but people are used to “Toilet Infection”. So for the sake of clarity, “Toilet Infection” will be use through out. Causes of Toilet(Vaginal) Infections 1.Bacterial vaginosis: This is the number one cause of all Toilet(vaginal) infections and out of 100 women that you will find with toilet infections, 50 of them will have Bacterial Vaginosis.This infection is caused by a change in the type of bacteria normally found in the vagina and causes an overgrowth of organisms such as Gardnerella vaginalis in the vagina. You can get bacterial vaginosis if you do vaginal douching or you insert intrauterine device (IUD)[the type of material inserted into the uterus(womb) to prevent pregnancy] or if you are pregnant or if you recently got a new sexual partner or if you have multiple sexual partners. Any of these can make you get bacterial vaginosis and you can see now that it is NOT cause by Toilet, or Swimming pools; But it affects the Vagina. Hence it is a Vaginal Infection and not Toilet infection.(This should make you understand it more.) Yeast Infection: This is also called: Candidiasis, Genital candidiasis, or Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) or simply Vaginal Yeast infection. This type of Toilet(Vaginal) infections is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This infection is not restricted to the Vagina alone because it can spread to other parts of the body such as skin, mucous membranes, heart valves, oesophagus, and other areas. It can cause serious and life-threatening systemic infections in people that their immunity is not strong (such as pregnant women,HIV positive individuals, people with Diabetes, or people who are taking Steroids like prednisolone). Out of 100 women, you will find about 75 of them have had Yeast infection(Candidiasis) at some point in their life. Which means that, though Bacterial vaginosis causes half of cases of Vaginal infections in women coming to the hospital with vaginal infections; Yeast infection has affected most women(whether treated or untreated). We do not see Vaginal yeast infection as a sexually transmitted disease, but about 15 men out of 100 will develop symptoms such as itching around their penis or rashes following sexual intercourse with an infected Woman, but that does not mean it is a sexually transmitted disease. Yeast infections or Candidiasis is caused by an overgrowth of normally growing fungi( that are found in the vagina but not have decided to be harmful). These overgrowth creates unpleasant symptoms which include: -itching. -burning. -whitish gray and thick vaginal discharge, but may sometimes be watery. -painful intercourse. -soreness. -rash. Normally, the yeasts are harmless because they are controlled by the good bacteria in the body. If the natural balance of microorganisms is disrupted(The reasons are explained below), the yeast that were harmless now become very harmful and out of control. This is not seen as a Sexually Transmitted Disease because the yeast are part of your normal body micro-organisms, but they have accelerated their growth rate(Not because of sexual intercourse). The explanation for this is explained below under “Harmful Habits that cause Toilet infections”.
What are the Signs of Toilet Infection? The general signs and symptoms of toilet infections are:
1. Itching: This is the commonest sign and it can occur at anytime. This itching can be so intense that it can make a woman to feel like crying especially if you are in the public. The bad side of it is that, in some women, the itching comes with pain whenever you try to scratch or rub the area. This is very discomforting.
2. Pain on Urination: Some people experience severe pain especially when urinating or when having sex.
3. Abnormal Discharge: There could be a discharge from the vagina that is not normal from the normal fluid secreted in the vagina that helps to keep it moist. This abnormal discharge is usually noticed when it becomes much, or when it starts smelling or when the color is abnormal. The color and smell of the discharge helps in knowing to some extent what type of organism is causing it. So always note the color when you want to go and see your doctor. The differences are explained below.
4. Abnormal Menstrual flow: When this becomes too much, it could affect the number of days it takes for your flow to end. It could also affect the Amount and the timing.
5. Abdominal Pain: Toilet infections may also cause abdominal pain in some women. prescription from your doctor.