Here are some ways vaginal infections can be contracted.
1. Bacterial infections. An overgrowth of certain bacteria naturally found in your vagina can cause an STI, and sexual contact — including hand-to-genital, oral, and penetrative vaginal sex — can lead to bacteria overgrowth and increase your chances of developing vaginal infections.
2. Yeast infections. Yeast infections are usually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. Various factors, including antibiotics, hormonal changes, a compromised immune system, and stress, can all reduce the number of antifungal bacteria in your vagina, leading to an overgrowth of yeast. This overgrowth can cause symptoms of a yeast infection.
3. Trichomoniasis. The protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis causes this infection. Most people contract trichomoniasis by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex without an internal or external condom. Still, some evidence suggests you can also contract it through shared bathwater and damp toilet seats, pools, and shared towels or damp clothing which can cause vaginal infections.
4. Douching. Flushing your vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar, baking soda, iodine, or other antiseptic ingredients might seem like a good way to keep it clean. But the truth is that your vagina can keep itself clean. This practice reduces healthy bacteria in your vagina, making infections more likely.
5. The use of soap, body wash, and perfume. Washing your vagina with soap and body wash, or spraying it with perfume, can also disrupt its natural pH. While it’s normal to rinse your vulva and vagina with plain water, any other product or fragrance can kill healthy bacteria in the vagina causing infections in the vagina.
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