What is Vaginitis and how to identify and prevent
What is Vaginitis?
Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina. It is reported that almost one-third of women have symptoms of vaginitis sometime during their lives. This condition may affect women of all ages but is most common in women during their reproductive years.
What causes Vaginitis and how to identify it?
Various infections, hormonal changes, or allergies can result in vaginitis. Depending on the cause it can be of the following types:
Bacterial vaginosis- This can occur due to an alteration in the bacterial flora of the vagina. One or more bacteria may overgrow and cause this. This is more commonly seen in women who are sexually active, more so in ones with multiple sexual partners. However, women who are not active sexually can also get bacterial vaginosis.
Symptoms of Bacterial vaginosis:
- Increased vaginal discharge which is usually thin and dark or dull grey.
- Strong fishy odour along with discharge.
- Itching in case of heavy discharge.
- Some women may also report a greenish discharge.
Such an infection is one of the most common causes of vaginosis. It is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. It can occur due to overuse of certain antibiotics, or also when the body’s immune response is compromised.
Symptoms of Yeast infection:
- Itching and burning sensation around the vagina.
- White and lumpy odourless discharge.
This condition is caused by a parasite that can commonly be acquired through the sexual route.
Symptoms in Trichomoniasis:
- Yellow-Gray or greenish discharge.
- Fishy odour in discharge.
- Irritation and redness of vaginal region.
Viral vaginitis-Sexually transmitted viruses such as Herpes and Human Papilloma virus may be responsible for vaginitis.
Atrophic vaginitis- Reduction in the levels of oestrogen in the body, during menopause can result in thinning of the vaginal lining leading to this type of vaginitis. This can also result at other times when there is hormonal alteration such as at the time of breastfeeding.
Non-infectious Vaginitis-This can occur due to allergic reaction to various products, such as vaginal sprays, scented detergents, and spermicidal products. Objects such as tissue papers and tampons which stay inserted for long periods inside the vagina can also result in this.
How to Prevent Vaginitis?
- Good hygiene: Maintaining a clean and dry vagina can help prevent any infection in it. Normal cleansing is recommended and douching should be avoided.
- Avoid irritants- Harsh and strongly scented soaps should be avoided. Care should be taken to remove the tampons timely.
- Wiping from front to back is recommended for cleansing- This prevents any transmission of faecal microorganisms to the vagina.
- Wear comfortable cotton underwear- This helps to keep the area dry and is recommended since yeast thrives well in moist areas and can be prevented by this.
When to meet a doctor?
It is recommended to meet a doctor in case you have any vaginal discomfort. Note for:
- Increases vaginal discharge
- Foul odour
- Itchiness or burning of the vagina
- Painful urination
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fever or chills accompanying vaginal discomfort
- Never had any discomfort in the vagina before
- Had discomfort previously but routine medications fail to work
- Discomfort in the vagina after a sexual intercourse
The treatment of vaginitis will depend on the cause of it. Ankura hospital for women and children has a team of gynecologists who are experts in treating vaginitis of all kinds.