Vaginal Infection Specialist

Steve Yu, MD

OBGYN located in Gaithersburg, MD

Part of providing comprehensive women’s health care includes investigating common gynecological problems, including signs of vaginal infection. Whether you’ve recently noticed an unusual vaginal discharge, you’ve been experiencing unexpected uterine bleeding, or you’ve received abnormal Pap test results, board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Steve Yu can find the underlying cause of the problem and provide effective treatment solutions. Call his office in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to find out more, or book an appointment online today.

Vaginal Infection Q & A

What causes abnormal vaginal discharge?

Glands in your cervix and along your vaginal walls normally produce a clear mucus or discharge. The amount and type of discharge your body produces varies as your hormones fluctuate with your monthly menstrual cycle — vaginal discharge usually increases when you’re ovulating, pregnant, or sexually aroused.

Normal vaginal discharge can be thick or thin, and it may appear clear, cloudy, white, or yellow. It may also be odorless or have a disagreeable odor.

If you notice an abnormal discharge, or one that has an odor and appears brown or green, you may have a vaginal infection. Abnormal vaginal discharge, which is often accompanied by itching or irritation, may be caused by:

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea, two common STDs
  • Vaginal yeast infection, caused by a fungus
  • Bacterial vaginosis, an overgrowth of normal vaginal bacteria

Abnormal vaginal discharge typically clears up when the underlying problem is treated.

What is abnormal uterine bleeding?

Normal uterine bleeding, or a regular menstrual cycle, can last anywhere from 24-38 days. During that cycle, your uterus sheds its lining and causes a normal “period” of bleeding. Normal uterine bleeding, which can be light or heavy, usually lasts one week or less.

Uterine bleeding is considered abnormal when it occurs outside of your regular period, or if your regular period doesn’t fit the normal definition. This includes:

  • Irregular periods that vary in length significantly
  • Very heavy periods that cause quickly soaked pads or tampons
  • Bleeding or spotting between cycles or after intercourse
  • Any bleeding that occurs after menopause

Abnormal uterine bleeding may occur at any time in your life and can be caused by a wide range of underlying factors or problems, including:

  • Infections, such as gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Noncancerous growths, such as uterine fibroids
  • Reproductive factors, such as an ectopic pregnancy
  • Hormone-related conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Cancer and precancerous conditions, including cervical cancer

Abnormal uterine bleeding can often be diagnosed by completing a physical exam and conducting lab and imaging tests.

What is cervical dysplasia?

If a recent Pap test reveals that you have cervical dysplasia, it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. It means that your cervix contains abnormal cells that may have the potential to become cancerous in the future.

Cervical dysplasia can be mild or severe. Mild cervical dysplasia, which is often noted as a low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) on Pap test results, may not require treatment. Severe cervical dysplasia, or a high-grade SIL, often requires more testing.

In such cases, Dr. Yu may conduct an HPV test to find out if you have an HPV infection, as well as a colposcopy to investigate your cervix more closely.

A colposcopy is a simple procedure that allows Dr. Yu to view your cervix through a device called a colposcope. This device uses a bright light and a magnifying lens to greatly enlarge the view of your cervix, helping him see it more clearly and in greater detail.

If Dr. Yu spots any questionable-looking cells, he’ll perform a biopsy of the area by collecting a small tissue sample for laboratory testing. If your results show you have potentially precancerous cells, Dr. Yu will sit down with you to talk about your treatment options and what you can expect along the way.  

To learn more or to make an appointment, call or book online today.