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Can vaginal infections cause fever?

Abnormal vaginal discharge, itching, and foul odour are some of the symptoms of vaginal infections. Sometimes, they even lead to fever. Let's explore the connection between vaginal infections and fever.
View All Images A woman in pain due to a vaginal infection
Know when vaginal infections can cause fever. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 11 Jul 2024, 08:00 pm IST
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Vaginal infections, including bacterial vaginosis, are common, and may lead to changes in vaginal discharge, as well as cause itching. Unusual and uncontrolled growth of bacteria and fungi are mostly to be blamed for these infections in your vagina and vulva, the area that surrounds your vagina. Almost any infection, including skin infections, cold, sore throat and ear infection, can cause a fever. But is there a connection between vaginal infections and fever?

What is a vaginal infection?

A vaginal infection, also known as vaginitis, is an inflammation or infection of the vagina. It can result from a variety of causes, including bacteria, yeast, virus, or parasites. It may lead to symptoms such as discharge, itching, and pain. The infection can disrupt the normal balance of microorganisms in the vagina, leading to an overgrowth of harmful pathogens, explains obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Pooja C Thukral.

A woman doing a vaginal self exam to check vaginal infection
Vaginal infections are common. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the types of vaginal infections?

Here are some of the common types of vaginal infections:

1. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

In 2023, the global bacterial vaginosis prevalence among women in the reproductive stage ranged from 23 to 29 percent, according to the World Health Organization. It is caused by the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina. It can lead to thin, greyish-white vaginal discharge with a fishy odour, vaginal itching, and burning during urination.

2. Yeast infection or candidiasis

A yeast infection is caused by the overgrowth of Candida yeast. Its symptoms include thick, white, odourless vaginal discharge, severe itching, redness, and swelling, says the expert.

3. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, and can turn your vaginal discharge greenish-yellow in colour. You may feel itching down there, and discomfort during sex and urination.

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4. Chlamydia

Bacteria chlamydia trachomatis is behind this infection. It is often asymptomatic, but sometimes, you may notice abnormal discharge, burning during urination, and pelvic pain, says Dr Thukral.

Vaginal infection and fever

A vaginal infection can cause fever, especially if the infection spreads beyond the vagina to other parts of the reproductive system, says the expert. For instance, a yeast infection may be accompanied by a fever if it gets spread to other parts. Invasive candidiasis typically occurs in women who have an impaired immune system. Once the infection spreads to other organs of the body, it induces an inflammatory response. This activates your body’s immune system in an attempt to clear the infection, and in the process, it causes fever.

Also, if a vaginal infection (like bacterial vaginosis, and chlamydia) is left untreated, it can ascend through the cervix into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), says the expert. This disease often does not cause any obvious symptoms, and if they do, they are mild and may include pain during sex or while peeing, bleeding between periods, and heavy periods. A few women become very ill with symptoms like severe pain in the abdomen and fever, according to the UK’s National Health Service.

vaginal infection
Antibiotics can treat vaginal infections. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to treat vaginal infections?

You can treat vaginal infections by doing the following:

  • For bacterial infections, use antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. It may be a cream to use in your vagina or pill to swallow.
  • For a yeast infection, you could check with your doctor for antifungal medications that are available over-the-counter or by prescription.
  • For Trichomoniasis, trust oral antibiotics such as metronidazole or tinidazole, but only after consulting your health expert.

For fever management, you may be given antipyretics like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, says the expert.

The bottomline is that localised vaginal infections typically do not cause fever. But advanced or untreated infections can spread and cause symptoms, including fever.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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