Sweating, itching and irritation in the abdomen are probably so troublesome. The cause is not infrequently a fungal infection, but as often the itching is due to a disturbance in the normal bacterial flora of the vagina – so-called bacterial imbalance.
It can be difficult to distinguish the two conditions as the symptoms are similar. However, both are completely harmless and can be treated easily.
The bacterial balance is disturbed
Most women at one time suffer from itching in the genital area. A common reason for irritation, itching and increased flow is that the bacterial balance in the vagina has been disturbed. The natural lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) usually dominate in the woman’s abdomen. If the balance is disturbed, the lactobacilli can disappear, giving the other bacteria the opportunity to grow and cause problems. This increases the risk of contracting a fungal infection or bacterial imbalance.
Fungal infection occurs when the fungus that is naturally present in the vagina proliferates because the immune system is impaired or when beneficial bacteria (lactic acid bacteria) cannot keep the fungus under control. All women can suffer from fungal infection, but the risk is greater after an antibiotic course, during pregnancy, before menstruation or if you are diabetic. It is not uncommon for recurrent infections.
Bacterial imbalance can affect women of all ages. The exact cause is not known. You don’t know whether it is due to an infection or whether it is a changed environment in the vagina that affects the natural balance. Excessive hygiene, antibiotic treatment or prolonged periods may cause an imbalance. Tight trousers, string panties and heavily perfumed soaps can also adversely affect.
Bacterial imbalance or fungal infection?
It can be difficult to distinguish between bacterial imbalance and fungi in the abdomen, as the symptoms are similar.
- The most common symptom of bacterial imbalance is smelly flow where the smell is reminiscent of bad fish. The smell is especially noticeable during menstruation and after intercourse. The movement is thin and grayish in color. In the event of a severe infection, itching and burning may also occur.
- Symptoms of abdominal fungi are a violent itch and the flow can change to become white and grainy, but is usually odorless. Some get more flow, while others experience dryness.
- Neither fungus nor bacterial imbalance is a sexually transmitted disease and therefore one cannot infect one’s partner.
Treatment for genital disorders
In case of fungal infection:
In a fungal infection it is often seen that the bacterial flora in the vagina is affected and the number of lactic acid bacteria is reduced. Genital fungi can be treated with special agents that kill the fungus. These drugs are available without prescription at pharmacies, such as Canesten and Pevaryl. If you use fungicides in the genital area too often, and perhaps without being sure that it really is a fungal infection, there is a risk that you may end up in a vicious circle where symptoms constantly recur and worsen. There are other non-prescription products that contain natural lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) that rebuild the natural bacterial flora, including RFSU CandiCur. In addition to treating the fungal infection, they also prevent and reduce the risk of recurrence. These products are so gentle that they cannot be overdosed and can also be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In bacterial imbalance:
If the bacterial flora is in imbalance, you can try local treatment with lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) that are brought up in the vagina. These are non-prescription and sold at pharmacies. This type of treatment is given as a cure that restores the balance of the vagina, which causes itching and light movements to disappear. If symptoms do not go away within 1 week, or if symptoms get worse, you should contact your doctor. There are then special prescription antibiotic treatments in the form of tablets or slimming creams available.
Seek help from a health center or gynecologist
- If you are bothered by itching do not give or increase
- If the flow changes appearance and becomes green, yellow, grainy or blood mixed.
- If treatment for fungal infection does not help
- If you get symptoms of fungal infection more than twice in six months
Bacterial imbalance can be reduced by avoiding washing with ordinary soap. Instead, use an intimate soap specially developed for the sensitive abdomen, or alternatively an unrefined child oil. Also, remember not to wear too tight pants and underwear. Sometimes the trouble is reduced if you use cotton panties that sit a little loose. An intimate cream with lactic acid can also prevent, since lactic acid strengthens the natural protective functions of the genital area.