Vaginitis is a medical term used to describe various conditions that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina. Vulvo-vaginitis refers to inflammation of both the vagina and vulva (the external female genitals). These conditions can result from a vaginal infection caused by organisms such as bacteria, yeast or viruses, as well as by irritation from chemicals in creams, sprays, or even clothing that is in contact with this area. In some cases, vaginitis results from organisms that are passed between sexual partners.
Symptoms of Vaginitis?
The symptoms of vaginitis can vary depending on what is causing the infection. Some women have no symptoms at all. Some of the more common symptoms of vaginitis include:
- abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odour
- burning sensation during urination,
- itching around the outside of the vagina,
- discomfort during intercourse.
A woman’s vagina normally produces a discharge that can usually be described as clear or slightly cloudy, non-irritating, and odour-free. During the normal menstrual cycle, the amount and consistency of discharge can vary. At one time of the month there may be a small amount of a very thin or watery discharge; and at another time, a more extensive thicker discharge may appear. All of these descriptions could be considered normal.
A vaginal discharge that has an odour or that is irritating is usually considered an abnormal discharge. The irritation might be itching or burning, or both. The itching may be present at any time of the day, but it is often most bothersome at night. These symptoms are often made worse by sexual intercourse. It is important to seek medical advice if there has been a change in the amount, colour or smell of the discharge.
Common types of vaginitis
The six most common types of vaginitis are:
- Candida or “yeast” infections
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Trichomoniasis vaginitis
- Chlamydia vaginitis (see also under PID)
- Viral vaginitis
Although each of these types of vaginitis can have different symptoms, it is not always easy for a woman to work out which type she has. In fact, diagnosis can even be tricky for an experienced doctor. Part of the problem is that sometimes more than one type can be present at the same time. And, an infection may even be present without any symptoms at all. To help you better understand these six major causes of vaginitis, we will look briefly at each one of them and how they are treated.
Thrush – Vaginal Yeast Infection – Candida
Yeast is the most common cause of vaginal infection. A fungus causes vaginal yeast infections, which occur inside the vagina and in the vulvar area that surrounds the vagina. Three out of four women have at least one vaginal yeast infection during their lifetimes. The symptoms of va ginal yeast infections include vaginal itching; a thick, white vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese; pain during sexual intercourse; redness; burning; soreness; swelling; and general vaginal irritation. Not every woman experiences all these possible symptoms of vaginal yeast infection. Many women frequently experience yeast infections, so they are familiar with their symptoms and the course of treatment recommended for them. But if this is the first time you are having such symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor to get a formal diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.
What factors increase your risk of vaginal yeast infections?
Several things will increase your risk of contacting a yeast infection, including:
- Recent treatment with antibiotics. For example, a woman may take an antibiotic to treat an infection, and the antibiotic kills her “friendly” bacteria that normally keep the yeast in balance. As a result, the yeast overgrows and causes the infection.
- Uncontrolled This allows for too much sugar in the urine and vagina.
- Pregnancy, which changes hormone levels.
Other factors Include: Oral contraceptives ( birth control pills), Disorders affecting the immune system, Thyroid or endocrine disorders and steroid therapy.
How are vaginal yeast infections treated?
Yeast infections are most often treated with medicine that you put into your vagina. This medicine may be in cream or pessary form and many are available over-the-counter. Medicine in a pill form that you take by mouth is also available.
What should I do to prevent vaginal yeast infections?
To prevent yeast infections, you should:
- Wear loose clothing made from natural fibres (such as cotton, linen and silk).
- Avoid wearing tight trousers.
- Do not douche. (Douching can kill bacteria that control fungus.)
- Limit the use of feminine deodorant.
- Limit the use of deodorant tampons or pads to the times when you need them.
- Change out of wet clothing, especially swimsuits, as soon as you can.
- Avoid frequent
- Wash underwear in hot water.
- Eat a well-balanced
- Eat yoghurt.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible.
If you get frequent yeast infections, seek medical advice. Certain tests may be needed to rule out other medical conditions.