An infection is the body’s reaction to a disease-causing germ such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus. Infections that frequently affect women include:
Our caring doctors at Dignity Health provide treatment for gynecologic infections in Arizona. We have three exceptional centers of care fully dedicated to women’s health services:
Use our online Find a Doctor tool to schedule an appointment today.
What Causes Gynecologic Infections
Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all cause infections. These tiny germs live all around us. Our body’s immune system usually keeps the bad germs at bay. But, some things can increase your risk of infection, including:
- Certain medications. Antibiotics can cure many bacterial infections, but may increase the risk of yeast infections. Other medications that may increase the risk of infection include corticosteroids and immunosuppressant drugs, such as those taken to prevent rejection after an organ transplant.
- Sexual activity. Sex can introduce germs into the urinary or reproductive tracts, especially in women.
- Introduction of foreign objects or materials. Having a catheter (a) tube to drain urine from the bladder increases the risk of infection because germs can travel up the tube. Using a diaphragm for birth control increases the risk of UTIs by making it more difficult to empty the bladder. Sex toys can also carry germs.
- Changes in hormone levels. The hormone swings that occur during pregnancy and perimenopause increase the risk of infection.
- Decreased immunity. Any medical treatment or condition that weakens your immune system, such as long-term steroid use, diabetes, chemotherapy, or HIV, increases the risk of infection.
- Other medical conditions. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, also increase the risk of infection.
Treating & Preventing Gynecological Infections
Treatment and prevention options depend upon the type and severity of infection, your risk factors, lifestyle habits, and medical history.
Good hygiene practices can prevent many infections. For women, good hygiene includes:
- Wearing cotton underwear
- Changing out of wet undergarments and clothing as soon as possible
- Wiping from front to back after using the toilet
- Urinating after sex
Douching is not recommended and may actually increase the risk of infection.
Most infections that affect a woman’s reproductive and urinary tract are bacterial or fungal, so doctors commonly use antibiotic and antifungal medication to treat them. Some medications are taken by mouth. Others are applied to the genital region or inserted into the vagina.
Without treatment, women’s infections can cause further complications, including infertility. Appropriate treatment can relieve pain and discomfort and improve overall health.
Dignity Health provides comprehensive women’s health services, including treatment for gynecological infections, in Arizona.