Are vaginal infections life-threatening?


Are vaginal infections life threatening- the answer is likely Yes and No, it depends on which infection and the symptoms involved. Most simple yeast or bacterial vaginal infections do not cause great harm or serious risk, but they can leave the cervix raw and vaginal tissue overall more vulnerable to contracting other more serious infections like HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea or even syphilis. The compounded events can lead to greater risks.

There is the concern for the certain types of infections traveling upward from the vagina, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease [PID]. As a PID infection is ascending into the uterus and fallopian tubes it can be quite serious, depending on the severity of the infection and the individuals’ immune system - it could be life threatening itself or complications could arise later that are.

Scar tissue in the tubes from a former infection can also make you at greater risk for an Ectopic or tubal pregnancy which is also life threatening.

So again, it is a yes and no answer. If you have concerns about the seriousness of your vaginal infection or symptoms you may be experiencing- see your GYN practitioner or health care provider locally for prompt attention.

Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
 Usually vaginal infections are NOT life threatening.  Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can arise in the vagina, and if left untreated, it can move into the blood stream and go to the liver and to the brain causing severe problems.  Syphilis is easily treated with penicillin antibiotics, but before syphilis was discovered, many patients were placed in insane asylums due to neurosyphillis and psychosis.

Vaginal infections themselves are not life-threatening. However, complications can result if vaginal infections are not treated. Women with vaginal infections are at greater risk for sexually transmitted infections and for pelvic inflammatory disease. Untreated vaginal infections put pregnant women at risk for early childbirth and uterine infections.

Continue Learning about Vulvovaginitis



Vulvovaginitis refers to numerous types of infections that can affect the vulva and vaginal area. Causes of vulvovaginitis include yeast, bacteria, parasites STDs and other viruses. If you have symptoms of vulvovaginitis like odor...

, discharge, itching, rash or pain in the vagina, you should call your doctor. You will want to make sure that you are treated for this condition, as it does not always go away on its own.

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.