Are vaginal infections always caused by bacteria or yeast?

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Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Most often, bacteria or yeast are the causes of vaginal infections.  Most sexually transmitted infections are bacterial in nature.  Candida, which is a fungus, is the most common cause of vaginal yeast infections.  There are some viruses that can cause infections of the vagina such as the herpes virus and molluscum contagiosum.
Vaginal infections are not always caused by bacteria or yeast. There is something called "noninfectious vaginitis," which is not really an infection at all. Rather, this is irritation of the vagina caused by soap, detergents, hygiene products, or synthetic clothing, which leads to vaginal itching. A virus, especially herpes, can result in a vaginal infection, as can a parasite like Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes the sexually transmitted disease called trichomoniasis. If you have symptoms of a vaginal infection and your doctor cannot find the cause, you should try to identify what products you could be using that may be causing vaginal irritation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.