Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoa. Often but not always acquired sexually.
Candida albicans, a yeast (a normal vaginal inhabitant). Many factors predispose.
Unknown; probably anaerobic bacteria. May be transmitted sexually
Decreased estrogen production after menopause
Yellowish green or gray, possibly frothy; often profuse and pooled in the vaginal fornix; may be malodorous
White and curdy; may be thin but typically thick; not as profuse as in Trichomonas infection; not malodorous
Gray or white, thin, homogeneous, malodorous; coats the vaginal walls. Usually not profuse, may be minimal
Variable in color, consistency, and amount; may be blood-tinged; rarely profuse
Pruritus (though not usually as severe as with Candida infection), pain on urination (from skin inflammation or possibly urethritis), and dyspareunia
Pruritus, vaginal soreness, pain on urination (from skin inflammation), and dyspareunia
Unpleasant fishy or musty genital odor
Pruritus, vaginal soreness, or burning and dyspareunia
The vestibule and labia minora may be reddened.
The vulva and even the surrounding skin are often inflamed and sometimes swollen to a variable extent.
May be diffusively reddened, with small red granular spots or petechiae in the posterior fornix. In mild cases, the mucosa looks normal.
Often reddened, with white, often tenacious patches of discharge. The mucosa may bleed when these patches are scraped off. In mild cases, the mucosa looks normal.
Atrophic, dry, pale; may be red, petechial, or ecchymotic; bleeds easily; may show erosions or filmy adhesions
Scan saline wet mount for trichomonads.
Scan potassium hydroxide (KOH) preparation for branching hyphae of Candida.
Scan saline wet mount for clue cells (epithelial cells with stippled borders); sniff for fishy odor after applying KOH ("whiff test").
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If you have ever had to put up with the misery of having a yeast infection, you will undoubtedly know just how much of a ‘bummer’ it is.