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Vaginitis is infection or inflammation of the vagina. It can cause itching and burning, a change in vaginal discharge, and sometimes pain during sex.
Vaginitis may be caused by bacteria, yeast, or other organisms. Bath products, douches, and spermicides also can irritate the vagina and cause itching and discomfort.
The three most common types of vaginitis and their causes are:
A healthy vagina normally contains a small number of yeast cells, along with a certain number of bacteria. Normally there aren't enough of the yeast cells to cause problems. But sometimes something happens to the vagina that lets the yeast cells multiply quickly and take over, causing symptoms. Taking antibiotics sometimes causes this. Being pregnant, taking birth control pills that contain estrogen, or having hormone therapy can also cause it. So can some health problems, like diabetes or HIV infection.
This is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. You get it by having sex with someone who has it. It is commonly called trich (say "trick").
Another type of vaginitis is atrophic vaginitis. This is an irritation of the vagina caused by thinning tissues and less moisture in the vaginal walls. This often occurs with menopause as a result of the decrease in the hormone estrogen. Surgery to remove the ovaries can have the same effect.
Symptoms of vaginitis may include a change in your normal vaginal discharge (including grey, green, or yellow discharge), vaginal odour, and vaginal redness, swelling, itching, or pain. Vaginitis may also cause burning when you urinate and pain or bleeding when you have sex.
Your doctor will check your vagina for redness and swelling and will take a sample of vaginal discharge. The sample can be tested in a lab to see what is causing the problem.
If you're pregnant, talk with your doctor. Some problems can affect your pregnancy, so it's important to get the right treatment.
Treatment depends on the type of infection you have. Types include:
Yeast infections can be treated with an over-the-counter antifungal medicine that you put into your vagina. Or your doctor may prescribe a pill. If you think you have a yeast infection, talk to your doctor before you try an over-the-counter medicine.
This is usually a mild problem. But it can lead to more serious problems, so it's a good idea to see your doctor. It's usually treated with antibiotics.
This is treated with antibiotics. Both you and your sex partner(s) need treatment.
This usually is treated with estrogen creams or tablets.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent vaginitis:
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineDeborah A. Penava BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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