Talk to Auntie Betty: I’ve recurrent vaginal infection

BY: Junior Graphic

Dear Auntie Betty, I am 15 years old and in junior high school Form Two.

Some time ago, I had vaginal infection and my mum took me to hospital for treatment.

However, the infection has recurred and is now worse than it was previously.

Anytime I try to tell my mum that we should visit the hospital again, she ignores me. I am worried about it and feel it will lead to complications.

What should I do?

Worried Girl,

Dear Worried Girl, It is important to treat every vaginal infection promptly. You are right about how you feel — if you do not properly treat the infection, it could lead to serious health complications.

I hope you completed the treatment you were given for the first infection. Sometimes when you do not complete or take the right dosage of medication, the problem may persist.

There are different types of vaginal infections (some are caused by yeast or fungi, bacteria or viruses) and it is important that the health practitioner you see makes you do some tests (urine sample or swab) to determine the type of infection in order to give you the correct treatment to prevent a recurrence.

I suggest you find an appropriate time to talk to your mum about how you feel. Explain to her that the vaginal infection, if left untreated, could lead to other health problems and so it is important that she takes you to see a doctor immediately. I am sure she will listen to you and do the needful.

Health experts say vaginal yeast infection, if left untreated, can lead to skin infections, fatigue, oral thrush, gastrointestinal (relating to the stomach and intestines) problems and invasive candidiasis.

Also, the discomfort that comes with vaginal infection, such as itching, foul-smelling discharge, redness or inflammation of the vaginal area, pain or burning sensation when urinating, etc can be unbearable.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of vaginal infection. It is important that you maintain good personal hygiene, eat nutritious foods and get enough sleep.

Also, as much as possible, try to wear cotton underwear or other breathable material. Nylon tends to trap heat and moisture. Avoid tight clothing and change sweaty or wet clothing as soon as you can.

When you use the toilet, wipe from the front of the vagina to the back to avoid spreading any disease-causing organism to the vaginal area.

When you get the chance to see a doctor, do tell him or her everything that you are experiencing now, and do not be shy about it, so that he or she can make the right diagnosis to give you the right treatment.

All the best.