• Personal health

  • Bacterial vaginosis

    Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. It is the most common vaginal infection affecting women of reproductive age. Health care professionals are not entirely sure what causes BV, but they know it is a result from an imbalance in bacteria that is normally found inside the vagina.

    Some activities, such as douching or having new or multiple sex partners, may increase a woman's risk for BV. Most women with BV do not have any symptoms. If symptoms are present, they could include an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, burning during urination, and/or itching around the vaginal opening. 

    Because little is known about the cause of BV, medical professionals are not sure how to prevent it. Being abstinent, limiting the number of sexual partners, and not douching are all ways that could potentially decrease a woman's risk for being diagnosed with BV.

    For more information on BV, please review the following links:

  • Breast health

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Although breast cancer is more common in women over 50 years old, younger women can be affected too. Other problems younger women may experience are benign (non-cancerous) lumps, painful breast or nipple discharge.

    It is important for women of all ages to understand breast health and the importance of breast self examinations (BSE), as well as to become familiar with their own breasts. This can help ensure that women have healthy breasts throughout life. Performing BSE can help women learn the normal look and feel of their breasts, allowing them to report any changes to their health care provider.

    Click on the below links for more information about breast health, including instructions for performing a BSE.

  • Urinary tract infection

    A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection found anywhere in the urinary tract, which are the organs that collect and store urine and release it from the body. These organs include the urethra, kidneys, bladder, and prostate (in men). A UTI may also be called a bladder infection or cystitis. A UTI is caused by bacteria that enter the urethra, which is the opening of the urinary tract. UTIs are more common in women due to their anatomy, although men can also be diagnosed with this type of infection.

    Symptoms of a UTI include:

    • Pain during urination
    • An urge to urinate even though the bladder is empty
    • Feeling the urge to urinate all the time
    • Lower abdominal or back pain
    • Blood in urine

    If a person thinks they may have a UTI, it is important to see a clinician. A health care provider will perform tests (usually a urine test) to screen for a UTI. If it is determined that a person has a UTI the clinician will prescribe an antibiotic to remove the bacteria from the urinary tract. It is possible for someone to be diagnosed with more than one UTI in their lifetime. In fact, some people have them frequently. Approximately one in five women diagnosed with a UTI will get another one. If you experience frequent UTIs, it is important to speak to your health care provider for more information as to what may be causing these infections.

    It may be possible to prevent UTIs. The following suggestions may help with UTI prevention:

    • Drink plenty of water. Six to eight glasses a day is recommended.
    • Drink cranberry juice or take vitamin C. Both help increase the acid in the urethra, which may kill bacteria.
    • Urinate frequently and whenever you feel the urge. Do not hold in your urine. 
    • Wipe front to back after using the bathroom.
    • Urinate after sex. Sexual activity may force bacteria into the urethra; this is especially true of women.
    • Wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing. Clothing that is too tight can trap bacteria.

    For more information about UTIs, please click on the following links:

  • Yeast infection

    A yeast infection is a common condition affecting women of all ages. About 75% of women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. Of these women, about half will experience more than one. Yeast infections are not usually serious, although they can be uncomfortable.

    The most common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is itching in and around the vagina. Other symptoms may include soreness; a thick, white vaginal discharge; and burning, redness, or swelling of the vagina and/or vulva. If a woman thinks she may have a yeast infection, it is important for her to talk to her health care provider regarding treatment options. These include creams, oral medications, and vaginal suppositories.

    Yeast infections may be caused by a number of things, including menstruating, hormonal changes, pregnancy, certain medications (including antibiotics), and certain illnesses. It may be possible to prevent yeast infections. Women should not douche; this can disrupt the normal balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina, leading to infection. Other prevention methods include wearing cotton underwear, avoiding tight underwear, not wearing wet swimsuits, and avoiding hot tubs or very hot baths.

    Please click on the links below for more information about yeast infections, including treatment options and prevention.