Yeast or Bacteria? Get the Right Treatment for Vaginitis


Woman with vaginitis

Most women will experience the irritation, burning, and discomfort of vaginitis at some point during their life. While many assume these symptoms are caused by a yeast infection, the discomfort can also be caused by bacterial vaginosis. The symptoms are very similar, and both are considered a type of vaginitis, yet they require two very different treatments.

Yeast Infection Symptoms

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a type of fungus, called candida, that normally lives in the vagina. The normal balance of candida can be disrupted by a number of factors, including taking antibiotics, an increase in blood sugar from diabetes, or a change in hormones due to pregnancy. Symptoms include:

  • A thick, white vaginal discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese that is typically odorless
  • Itching, redness, and irritation that may occur even before the onset of discharge
  • Painful urination and intercourse

Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms

In bacterial vaginosis, several types of bacteria can become overgrown. Sometimes the balance of bacteria is disrupted by a new sex partner or by having multiple sex partners, but it can also appear in women who are not sexually active. Symptoms include:

  • A thin, milky discharge with an odor
  • Redness and irritation
  • Painful urination and intercourse


If you’re not sure if you have an infection caused by yeast or bacteria, it’s important to get a medical diagnosis. The wrong type of treatment can actually make your condition worse. A pelvic exam and lab testing of cervical or vaginal discharge can confirm what type of vaginitis you have.

Yeast infections can be treated with an over-the-counter cream and suppositories. While it may be tempting to treat yourself, it’s best to get an official diagnosis before treating a yeast infection. Some medical providers may recommend a prescription, oral antifungal medication.

Bacterial vaginosis is treated with an oral antibiotic or an antibiotic gel or cream. All of these treatments require a prescription.

Get Expert Advice Today

If you have vaginitis, you don’t have to delay getting a diagnosis and the right treatment. InstaCare at Lake Jeanette lets you reserve a time online for a same-day visit. Evening and weekend appointments are available, and you’ll be able to skip the hassle of a long wait when you reserve your spot online.