Leadership (Abuja)

23 November 2012

Nigeria: Indiscriminate Intake of Antibiotics Can Cause Vagina Infections - Expert

Some medical experts on Friday in Lagos advised women against indiscriminate intake of antibiotics, saying too much intake of antibiotics could cause vagina infections.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that antibiotics could kill the friendly bacteria (Lactobacillus) which protects the vagina from infections and diseases.

Prof. Vincent Rotimi, a clinical microbiologist at Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait, said, "Vagina is elegant, delicate, resilient and had the ability to maintain itself."

According to him, too much intake of antibiotics can affect the ecosystem of the vagina.

"The vagina does not require any external influences because it has a complex ecosystem capable of self cleaning and self regulation.

"Too much or indiscriminate intake of antibiotics can disrupt the delicate balance in the vagina, thereby making it open to infections and diseases," he said.

Also, Dr Muheez Durosinmi, Chairman, Faculty of Pathology at the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Lagos, said that antibiotics could increase the risk of yeast overgrowth in the vagina.

Vaginal yeast infection is a common condition that is caused by an overgrowth of yeast (also called candida) in the vagina.

"Some women can experience a yeast infection on the outer skin of the vagina (vulva) at the same time as having a vaginal yeast infection.

"Women with an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina may experience an abnormal discharge that smells foul."

Durosimi said that 75 per cent of women would experience at least one vaginal yeast infection during their life time with many plagued by the recurrent yeast infections.

He said that learning to recognise the symptoms of vaginal yeast infection was vital before women could attempt self-treatment.

"Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the normal fungi that lives in the vaginal area and is often a result of recent use of antibiotics, which makes the vagina dry.

"The yeast overgrowth dries up the vagina and its acid components that protect it, therefore, it becomes vulnerable to infections.

"Symptoms of yeast infection include: itching, burning, redness, and irritation of the vaginal area. Severe yeast infections may cause swelling of the vulva in some women," Durosinmi said.

In his comments, Dr Wunmi Oladele, a pathologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, advised women against any form of artificial vagina cleanser.

She said that artificial vagina cleanser had consequences and should be avoided.

Oladele said that the vagina was designed to keep itself clean with natural secretion and to handle any influence such as "hormonal imbalance, infections and over heat as long as it is healthy".

"Use clean water, plain and unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently everyday.

"During your period, washing more than once a day may be helpful to maintain good vaginal function, " Oladele advised.

According to her, food choices will also determine the health of your vagina.

"A balanced, nutritious diet and drinking plenty of fluids are keys to vaginal and reproductive health.

"Visit your gynaecologist once a year for a health check-up and pelvic examination to check for any change or infection," she advised.

NAN

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