Vaginitis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina, that usually occurs due to an infection of the vagina. It is mostly caused by organisms like bacteria, fungus, or irritants like spray and chemicals. Moreover, it can also occur due to items of clothing that irritate your skin, or low estrogen due to menopause, vaginal dryness, or sexually transmitted diseases. Under normal conditions, all the women have some bacteria and yeast in their vaginal fluid that helps in keeping the environment healthy. But at times, when bacterial or fungal load surpasses the normal level it can lead to infections of the reproductive system. Along with vaginal discharge, you may notice a foul odor. Vulvovaginitis refers to the inflammation of the vagina and vulva. 


Types 


The types of vaginitis are;


  • Trichomoniasis vaginitis

  • Non-infectious vaginitis

  • Atrophic vaginitis

  • Chlamydia or gonorrhea vaginitis

  • Viral vaginitis

  • Candida or “yeast” vaginitis

  • Bacterial vaginosis


Trichomoniasis vaginitis

Trichomoniasis is a protozoal parasite infection that is transmitted from one partner to another through sexual intercourse. 


Non-infectious vaginitis

Noninfectious vaginitis is one that occurs without any infection. It usually occurs as an allergic response when a fabric or a chemical irritates the vagina. It can occur due to douches, vaginal sprays, or spermicidal products. 


Atrophic vaginitis

Atrophic vaginitis is another form of non-infectious vaginitis. It occurs due to vulvovaginal atrophy and menopause symptoms. Due to a decrease in estrogen levels, the atrophy of the vagina can occur and it can become dry too. Using a lube to lubricate it can help get rid of it. 


Chlamydia or gonorrhea vaginitis

Chlamydia vaginitis mostly does not show any symptoms which makes it difficult to diagnose. Sometimes, it causes vaginal discharge, while sometimes it does not. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease. 


Viral vaginitis


Viral vaginitis is another most common vaginitis. It occurs due to a virus known as herpes simplex virus, commonly called herpes virus. Most commonly it causes pain with lesions in the vagina. 


Candida or “yeast” vaginitis

Yeast infection vaginitis occurs due to a fungus called Candida Albicans. 


Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginitis occurs when the bacterial load in the vaginal fluid surpasses normal levels. 


Each of these vaginitis shows different signs and symptoms. Diagnosis for it may be tricky even for an expert healthcare provider. Treatment for each depends on the causative agent. 


Symptoms 


The general symptoms of vaginitis are;


  • Change in color of vaginal discharge

  • Change in the odor of vaginal discharge 

  • Change in the amount of vaginal discharge 

  • Vaginal itching 

  • Vaginal irritation

  • Pain during intercourse- a condition known as dyspareunia

  • Painful urination

  • Light vaginal bleeding or spotting


Risk factors 


Factors that put you at risk of getting vaginitis can be;


  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control

  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, contraceptives, or menopause

  • Being active sexually

  • Having a partner with sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea

  • Using medications like antibiotics and steroids

  • Using spermicides as contraceptives 

  • Having diabetes that remains uncontrolled 

  • Use of hygiene products such as bubble bath, vaginal spray, or vaginal deodorant

  • Douching

  • Wearing damp or tightfitting clothing

  • Not using barrier method during sex


Treatment 


Treatment of vaginitis varies according to the causative agent. If it occurs due to bacteria, antibiotics are given, if it occurs due to fungus, antifungals are given. 



Conclusion 



Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina, that usually occurs due to the infection of the vagina. It is mostly caused by organisms like bacteria, fungus, or irritants like spray and chemicals. Moreover, it can also occur due to clothing that irritates your skin, or low estrogen due to menopause, vaginal dryness, or sexually transmitted diseases. Under normal conditions, all the women have some bacteria and yeast in their vaginal fluid that helps in keeping their environment healthy. But at times, when bacterial or fungal load surpasses the normal level it can lead to infections of the reproductive system. Along with vaginal discharge, you may notice a foul odor.


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