Comparing Yeast Infections and Bacterial Vaginosis

Vaginal infections are very common. Most women will get one at some point during their lifetime, and many women get them more than once. Vaginal infections are treatable with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. The treatment you’ll need depends on the specific infection you have. Visit a gynecologist to determine whether you have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. 


Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis have similar symptoms. Be sure to disclose all of your symptoms when you talk to your gynecologist, even if they don’t seem to be related. Generally, women with bacterial vaginosis may experience: 

  • Vaginal itching 
  • Burning pain with urination 
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge 
  • Foul-smelling odor 

Like bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection can cause intense vaginal itching. Women can also experience a burning sensation, especially during urination or intercourse. Other symptoms of a yeast infection are: 

  • Vaginal rash and irritation 
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva 
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge 


Yeast infections are a type of fungal infection. An overgrowth of yeast, which is normally held in check by the Lactobacillus bacteria, causes yeast infections. Some of the risk factors of yeast infections include: 

  • Use of antibiotics 
  • Use of hormone therapy or oral contraceptives 
  • Impaired immune system 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Diabetes 

Bacterial vaginosis is also caused by an imbalance. When there are more “bad” bacteria than “good” bacteria in the vagina, bacterial vaginosis can result. Some of the risk factors of bacterial vaginosis include: 

  • Douching 
  • Having multiple sex partners 
  • Having a new sex partner 


Yeast infection medications are available at pharmacies without a prescription. However, if you’ve never had a yeast infection before, you should go to your gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis. The medications can be taken as a vaginal suppository or in the form of a pill taken orally. But these antifungal medications don’t work on bacterial vaginosis. Instead, your gynecologist will need to prescribe an antibiotic pill or a medicated cream. 

You’ll find a complete range of gynecology services at Washington Surgi-Clinic. Our highly trained providers are committed to supporting the health of each of our patients. Call (202) 659-9403 to request an appointment for vaginal infection treatment at our Washington, D.C. clinic.