Vaginitis

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina. As many as one third of women will have symptoms of vaginitis sometime during their lives. Vaginitis affects women of all ages but is most common during the reproductive years.

A change in the balance of the yeast and bacteria that normally live in the vagina can result in vaginitis. This causes the lining of the vagina to become inflamed. Factors that can change the normal balance of the vagina include:

  • Illustration of woman's orgransAntibiotics
  • Changes in hormone levels due to pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause
  • Douching
  • Spermicides
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Infection

The most common types of vaginitis are:

  • Atrophic vaginitis—This condition is not caused by an infection but can cause vaginal discharge and irritation, such as dryness, itching and burning
  • Bacterial vaginosis—This is an overgrowth of the bacteria that occur naturally in the vagina.
  • Trichomoniasis—This condition is caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas vaginalis and is spread through sex.
  • Yeast infection—The balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is altered, causing the yeast to overgrow and cause symptoms.

Diagnosis

To diagnose vaginitis, we will take a sample of the discharge from your vagina and look at it under a microscope. We also may suggest other tests.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on the cause of the vaginitis, and may be either a pill or a cream or gel that is applied to the vagina.

Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.