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How do you know if you have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis?

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Two of the most common causes are related to organisms that live in your vagina. They can have very similar symptoms. Yeast infections are an overgrowth of the yeast that you normally have in your body. Bacterial vaginosis happens when the balance of bacteria is thrown off. With both conditions, you may notice white or grayish discharge. How can you tell them apart? If there's a fishy smell, bacterial vaginosis is a better guess. If your discharge looks like cottage cheese, a yeast infection may be to blame. That's also more likely to cause itching and burning, though bacterial vaginosis might make you itchy, too. And you could have both at the same time.

From: Vaginitis (Vaginal Infection) WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Vaginitis."

Office of Women's Health: "Sexual Transmitted Infections Fact Sheet;" "Bacterial Vaginosis;" and "Vaginal Yeast Infection."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Vaginal Discharge."

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists: "Vaginitis."

Hall Health Center, University of Washington: "Yeast Infections."

Planned Parenthood: "Yeast Infection & Vaginitis."

Egan, M. , 2000. American Family Physician

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on February 25, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Vaginitis."

Office of Women's Health: "Sexual Transmitted Infections Fact Sheet;" "Bacterial Vaginosis;" and "Vaginal Yeast Infection."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Vaginal Discharge."

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists: "Vaginitis."

Hall Health Center, University of Washington: "Yeast Infections."

Planned Parenthood: "Yeast Infection & Vaginitis."

Egan, M. , 2000. American Family Physician

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on February 25, 2018

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What causes non-infectious vaginitis?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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