About vaginitis

What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina.

  • Symptoms of vaginitis include vaginal pain or discomfort, itching, discharge, and odor. Pain with urination or during sexual intercourse is also common.
  • Vaginitis may be due to infections or non-infectious causes.
  • Infectious vaginitis may be due to bacteria, fungi, or the parasitic organism known as Trichomonas.
  • Infectious vaginitis should be treated with antibiotics.
  • Vaginitis can also be related to physical or chemical irritation of the vagina.
  • Some infectious causes of vaginitis are sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), but not all vaginal infections are sexually-transmitted.
  • Vaginitis in pregnancy should be treated to avoid complications for mother and baby.

What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina that often occurs in combination with inflammation of the vulva, a condition known as vulvovaginitis. Vaginitis is often the result of an infection with yeast, bacteria, or Trichomonas, but it may also arise due to physical or chemical irritation of the area. Not all infections that cause vaginitis are considered sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but some STDs cause vaginitis.

What are the symptoms for vaginitis?

Sexual discomfort symptom was found in the vaginitis condition

Vaginitis signs and symptoms can include:

  • Change in color, odor or amount of discharge from your vagina
  • Vaginal Itching or irritation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Light vaginal bleeding or spotting

If you have vaginal discharge, which many women don't, the characteristics of the discharge might indicate the type of vaginitis you have. Examples include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis. You might develop a grayish-white, foul-smelling discharge. The odor, often described as a fishy odor, might be more obvious after sexual intercourse.
  • Yeast infection. The main symptom is itching, but you might have a white, thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
  • Trichomoniasis. An infection called trichomoniasis (trik-o-moe-NIE-uh-sis) can cause a greenish-yellow, sometimes frothy discharge.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you develop unusual vaginal discomfort, especially if:

  • You have a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor, discharge or itching.
  • You've never had a vaginal infection. Seeing your doctor can establish the cause and help you learn to identify the signs and symptoms.
  • You've had vaginal infections before.
  • You've had multiple sex partners or a recent new partner. You could have a sexually transmitted infection. Some sexually transmitted infections have signs and symptoms similar to those of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
  • You've completed a course of over-the-counter anti-yeast medication and your symptoms persist.
  • You have a fever, chills or pelvic pain.

Wait-and-see approach

You probably don't need to see your doctor every time you have vaginal Irritation and discharge, particularly if:

  • You've previously had a diagnosis of vaginal yeast infection and your signs and symptoms are the same as before
  • You know the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection, and you're confident that's what you have

What are the causes for vaginitis?

The cause depends on what type of vaginitis you have:

  • Bacterial vaginosis. This most common cause of vaginitis results from a change of the normal bacteria found in your vagina, to overgrowth of one of several other organisms. Usually, bacteria normally found in the vagina (lactobacilli) are outnumbered by other bacteria (anaerobes) in your vagina. If anaerobic bacteria become too numerous, they upset the balance, causing bacterial vaginosis.

    This type of vaginitis seems to be linked to sexual intercourse — especially if you have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner — but it also occurs in women who aren't sexually active.

  • Yeast infections. These occur when there's an overgrowth of a fungal organism — usually C. albicans — in your vagina. C. albicans also causes infections in other moist areas of your body, such as in your mouth (thrush), skin folds and nail beds. The fungus can also cause diaper rash.
  • Trichomoniasis. This common sexually transmitted infection is caused by a microscopic, one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This organism spreads during sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection.

    In men, the organism usually infects the urinary tract, but often it causes no symptoms. In women, trichomoniasis typically infects the vagina, and might cause symptoms. It also increases a women's risk of getting other sexually transmitted infections.

  • Noninfectious vaginitis. Vaginal sprays, douches, perfumed soaps, scented detergents and spermicidal products may cause an allergic reaction or irritate vulvar and vaginal tissues. Foreign objects, such as tissue paper or forgotten tampons, in the vagina can also irritate vaginal tissues.
  • Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vaginal atrophy). Reduced estrogen levels after menopause or surgical removal of your ovaries can cause the vaginal lining to thin, sometimes resulting in vaginal irritation, burning and dryness.

What are the treatments for vaginitis?

The treatment for vaginitis depends upon its cause. Infectious vaginitis is treated with antibiotic medications. Bacterial vaginitis is treated either with oral antibiotics, intra-vaginal antibiotic creams, or injections (shots) of antibiotics. Treatment guidelines are always updated to reflect the patterns of resistance to antibiotics of circulating bacterial strains.

What are the risk factors for vaginitis?

Factors that increase your risk of developing vaginitis include:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those associated with pregnancy, birth control pills or menopause
  • Sexual activity
  • Having a sexually transmitted infection
  • Medications, such as antibiotics and steroids
  • Use of spermicides for birth control
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Use of hygiene products such as bubble bath, vaginal spray or vaginal deodorant
  • Douching
  • Wearing damp or tightfitting clothing
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control

Is there a cure/medications for vaginitis?

Since vaginitis can be caused by a variety of species and situations, treatment focuses on the specific cause:

Vaginosis is caused by bacteria

  • For this type of vaginitis, your doctor may prescribe metronidazole tablets (Flagyl) to take or metronidazole gel (MetroGel) to apply to the affected area. Other treatments include clindamycin (Cleocin) cream applied to the vagina, clindamycin tablets taken orally, or capsules placed in the vagina. Tinidazole (Tindamax) or secnidazole (Solosec) is administered orally.

Infections caused by yeast

  • Over-the-counter antifungal creams or suppositories, such as miconazole (Monistat 1), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex, Trivagizole 3), butoconazole (Gynazole-1) or tioconazole, are commonly used to treat yeast infections (Vagistat-1). A prescription oral antifungal medicine, such as fluconazole, may also be used to treat yeast infections (Diflucan).

The benefits of over-the-counter therapy include convenience, low cost, and not having to wait to visit your doctor. However, you could be suffering from something other than a yeast infection. Using the incorrect medication may cause a delay in receiving an appropriate diagnosis and appropriate care.


  • Metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax) tablets may be prescribed by doctor.

Menopausal genitourinary syndrome (vaginal atrophy)

  • This disorder can be treated with oestrogen in the form of vaginal creams, pills, or rings. After health care physician has assessed other health risks and potential problems, this therapy is accessible by prescription.

Noninfectious Vaginitis

  • To cure this kind of vaginitis, you must identify and prevent the source of the discomfort. New soap, laundry detergent, sanitary napkins, or tampons are all possible sources.

Noninfectious Vaginitis

  • To cure this kind of vaginitis, you must identify and prevent the source of the discomfort. New soap, laundry detergent, sanitary napkins, or tampons are all possible sources.

Changes in the colour, odour, or volume of vaginal discharge,Itching or discomfort in the cervix,Sexual discomfort,Urination that hurts,Spotting or light vaginal bleeding
Bacterial vaginosis,Yeast infection,Trichomoniasis

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