What is vaginitis

What is Vaginitis?

What is Vaginitis?

Vaginitis refers to conditions characterized by infection or inflammation of the vagina. When the inflammation extends to the vulva, the outer genital area, it is termed vulvovaginitis.

Various factors can cause vaginitis. Common culprits include:

  • Candida or “yeast” vaginitis,
  • bacterial vaginosis,
  • Trichomoniasis vaginitis (a sexually transmitted infection),
  • Chlamydia vaginitis,
  • Viral vaginitis,
  • non-infectious vaginitis and
  • Atrophic vaginitis.

Vaginitis may be caused by excessive antibiotic use, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, steroid use and a weakened immune system.

Symptoms of vaginitis

Signs and symptoms experienced by a woman can vary depending on the underlying cause (infection or inflammation). Severity of symptoms may vary from mild to severe and some women may have no symptoms at all. Some common symptoms that are present in most forms of vaginitis are:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge (thick or thin) that may be foul smelling,
  • burning sensation on passing urine,
  • pain on urination,
  • itching or irritation around the outside of the vagina and
  • pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Diagnosis and treatment:

Vaginitis is diagnosed through medical history and gynecological examination, with tests conducted to confirm its cause. These may include wet-mount preparation, KOH preparation, Whiff test, and urine tests.

Given the various causes of vaginitis, accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. Medications prescribed may include oral medications, creams, and suppositories. Treatment for bacterial vaginosis typically involves oral metronidazole tablets, vaginal metronidazole gel, or clindamycin cream. Most treatments last for five to seven days. Yeast infections in most women can be treated with over-the-counter medications like miconazole, tioconazole, butoconazole, or clotrimazole creams and gels. If symptoms persist despite over-the-counter treatment, consulting a doctor is recommended. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before using any treatment.

Prevention of vaginitis:

You can lower your risk of developing vaginitis by adhering to the following steps:

  • Wear breathable cotton clothing and avoid tight or synthetic fabrics.
  • Avoid using scented soaps, colored or perfumed toilet paper, scented tampons, and panty liners.
  • Maintain proper genital hygiene.
  • Avoid excessive vaginal douching.
  • Practice safe sex.