Truth behind toilet infections By Hauwa Yahi

Toilet infections, as people call it, is a situation whereby the female (due to the wide open perineum and short urethra) experience itching, burning sensations in her private part and irregular discharge, which is usually smelly as well as irregular menstrual period with lower abdominal pains.
Most ladies refer to it as toilet infection, because they claim to contact it after using the toilet. However, there is no such name in medicine, and moreover, bacterial vaginosis, which is the commonest cause of infection, has no scientific prove to be transmitted from toilet. It is medically termed “sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The commonest of the infections are: bacterial vaginosis (bacterial infection); candidiasis (fungal infection, or yeast infection; trichomonas (protozoan infection).
Trichomonas is an STI where 15 percent of infected partners have been found to be positive with the organism, while others are not directly linked to sexual contact as a cause. However 50 per cent of women that show symptoms of toilet infection actually have bacterial vaginosis. These infections, if not treated early, could lead to long term complication like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can be described as acute or chronic, a major problem responsible for infertility in women.
Dr. Danladi of UNIMAID clinic says, “Two out of five girls that come for treatment are usually present with the symptom, suggestive of having vaginal infections, which they mostly claim is from the use of toilet”.
Though it is rare to contact these infections from the toilet, there are other factors that can cause vaginal infection, these include, unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, immunosuppressive disorders e.g. HIV/AIDS, steroids abuse, post-menopause women and use of contraceptives, like IUCD, oral contraceptives, spermicides, antibiotics abuse, vaginal douching, use of perfume or sprays on the private area, poor personal hygiene as well as wearing tight clothing such as skinny jeans trouser or skin tights, for a long period of time, which generate heat and moisten the private areas making harmful bacteria to grow, thereby causing infection.
Nevertheless, these infections can be treated empirically through administration of antibiotics, antifungal drugs and creams. Investigations are also carried out to determine the type of infection responsible and the specific treatment that should be administered.
Dr. Danladi advised that ladies should come for early treatment whenever they experience anything different from the normal, to avoid complications which occur due to prolonged lack of treatment or inadequate or improper treatment. Sexual partners are also advised to go for screening and treatment to avoid re-infection.
Underwear should be spread under the sun and not indoors, to avoid growth of harmful bacteria. The method for cleaning the anus after using the toilet is also very important, especially in women. When you clean from back to the front, you can mistakenly wipe the faecal matter on the vagina and that will carry all the germs of the faecal content into the vagina. So, to avoid this, simply wipe from front to the back to avoid introducing harmful micro-organism into the vagina.
He also stressed that vaginal douching and application of perfume and spray on the vaginal area can cause imbalance and kill the good bacteria that controls the growth of harmful bacteria, hence, causing the harmful bacteria to overgrow, leading to infections.
Hauwa Yahi wrote in from the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri

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