Vaginitis – Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Definition

“Vaginitis” is a medical term used to describe various disorders that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina. Vulvovaginitis refers to inflammation of both the vagina and vulva (the external female genitals). These conditions can result from an infection caused by organisms such as bacteria, yeast, or viruses. In addition, irritations from chemicals in creams, sprays, or even clothing that are in contact with this area can result in vaginitis. In some cases, vaginitis results from organisms that are passed between sexual partners and from vaginal dryness and lack of oestrogen.

Epidemiology

Vaginitis is common in adult women and uncommon in prepubertal girls. Bacterial vaginosis accounts for 40-50% of vaginitis cases; vaginal candidiasis, 20-25%; and trichomoniasis, 15-20%.

In US women of childbearing age, bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection. An estimated 7.4 million new cases of bacterial vaginosis occur each year. National data show that the prevalence is 29%. However, the rate varies in different subpopulations: it is 5-25% in college students and 12-61% in patients with STDs. In the United States, as many as 16% of pregnant women have bacterial vaginosis. 50-60% prevalence is found in female prison inmates and commercial sex workers.

Eighty-five percent of those with bacterial vaginosis are asymptomatic. More than a billion dollars is estimated to be spent annually on both self-treatment and visits to a medical provider.

An estimated 3 million cases of trichomoniasis occur each year in the United States. The worldwide prevalence of trichomoniasis is 174 million; these cases account for 10-25% of all vaginal infections.

Age- and race-related demographics

All age groups are affected. The highest incidence is noted among young, sexually active women. Vaginitis affects all races. The highest incidence of bacterial vaginosis is in blacks (23%), and the lowest is in Asians (6%). Prevalence increases with age among non-Hispanic black women. The incidence is 9% in whites and 16% in Hispanics.

Types

There are several types of vaginitis, depending on the cause.

The most common are:

Atrophic vaginitis: The endothelium, or lining of the vagina, gets thinner when estrogen levels decrease during the menopause, making it more prone to irritation and inflammation.

Bacterial vaginosis: This results from an overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina. Patients usually have low levels of a normal vaginal bacteria called lactobacilli.

Trichomonas vaginalis: Sometimes referred to as trich, it is caused by a sexually transmitted, single-celled protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. It may infect other parts of the urogenital tract, including the urethra, where urine leaves the body.

Candida albicans: A yeast that causes a fungal infection, known as vaginal thrush. Candida exists in small amounts in the gut and is normally kept in check by normal gut bacteria.

Risk factors

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

Causes

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 oestrogen levels after menopause or surgical removal of your ovaries can cause the vaginal lining to thin, sometimes resulting in vaginal irritation, burning and dryness.

Symptoms

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.

Diagnosis and test

To diagnose vaginitis, your doctor is likely to:

Review your medical history: This includes your history of vaginal or sexually transmitted infections.

Perform a pelvic exam: During the pelvic exam, your doctor may use an instrument (speculum) to look inside your vagina for inflammation and abnormal discharge.

Collect a sample for lab testing: Your doctor might collect a sample of cervical or vaginal discharge for lab testing to confirm what kind of vaginitis you have.

Perform pH testing: Your doctor might test your vaginal pH by applying a pH test stick or pH paper to the wall of your vagina. An elevated pH can indicate either bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. However, pH testing alone is not a reliable diagnostic test.

Treatment and medications

Treatment depends on the cause. It may include low-potency topical steroids, applied to the skin, topical or oral antibiotics, antifungals, or antibacterial creams.

Medications used to treat a fungal infection include butoconazole and clotrimazole.

Other options include:

  • Cortisone cream to treat severe irritation.
  • Antihistamines, if the inflammation appears to stem from an allergic reaction.
  • Topical oestrogen cream, if the vaginitis is due to low oestrogen levels.

If a woman is pregnant, she should make sure her doctor knows, because vaginitis can affect the fetus, and because some treatment options may not be suitable.

Home remedies

Yogurt  Dip a tampon in yogurt and put it in your vagina for a couple of hours. Repeat twice daily until the symptoms completely disappear. Also, include plain yogurt daily in your diet.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

  • Add 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and use it to wash your vagina twice daily for a few days.
  • Also, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little raw honey to a glass of warm water and drink it twice daily.

Cold Compress – The cold temperature helps numb the area, providing relief from itching, pain and other discomforts.

  • Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and tie it together.
  • Put this compress on your vagina for 1 minute.
  • Take a break for 1 minute and reapply it.
  • Repeat for a few more minutes.
  • Use this remedy as needed.

You can also rinse the vaginal area with cold water a few times a day.

Garlic – The antibacterial and mild antiseptic qualities of garlic help treat vaginitis.

  • Mix 4 or 5 drops of garlic oil with ½ teaspoon each of vitamin E oil and coconut oil. Apply it on the affected area twice daily for a few days.
  • Eat a few cloves of raw garlic daily and use it in your daily cooking.
  • Alternatively, you can take 300 mg of garlic supplements daily for a few days. However, it is best to consult a doctor before taking any supplement.

Boric Acid – Boric acid is a great remedy to get rid of the discomforts of vaginitis. Its antiseptic and antifungal properties help reduce itching, pain and irritation. In addition, it helps cleanse the vagina and restore its pH level.

  1. Put some boric acid powder inside an empty gel capsule.
  2. Insert this capsule in your vagina before going to bed.
  3. The next morning, wash the area thoroughly with warm water.
  4. Repeat once or twice a week.

Note: Do not use this remedy if you are pregnant.

Prevention

The following best practices will help prevent vaginitis:

  • Good hygiene, using a mild soap without irritants or scents
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoiding douching and irritating agents, found in hygiene sprays, soaps, and other feminine products
  • Always wiping from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the vagina
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Use antibiotics only when necessary
  • You can learn more about vaginal yeast infections here.

 

 

 

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143 comments

  1. what need to do if u feel aching I want the medicine for UTDs

  2. excellent,i like much this app thank you so much, youhelp me about vaginitis which i am presently suffering it disturb me alot. i will keep in touch
    with you.

  3. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  4. hii i am adult and i have sex lose plz control tablets plz name tablets

  5. Very good study

  6. Excellent

  7. my six loss plz you should send teblat name

  8. Good information were here

  9. Khadeejaht A Salihu

    Hello Dr! I lost my period 3months now but sometime i use to see brown blood not much like discharge.

  10. Dr. This information is helpful please if something white coming out of my Virginia and I always experience pain in my abdomen. After sex the sperm always coming out. Please what do I do?

  11. ANDREW GABRIEL HASSAN

    Low sperm level,n’ sperms without heads.Plz advise me what to do or kind of medicine to use

  12. ANDREW GABRIEL HASSAN

    My girlfriend has a swollen clitori n’ iching,produce white discharge.Plz advise medicine

  13. plsss very good one but plsss can u introduce some of de medicine here for me to see it the butoconazole and clotrimazole

  14. l Have urine problem. When I passed urine after that again drop urine in panty.

  15. Georgia Attakora

    I hv had this infection for a long time now. Pls what do I do

    • Always keep your virginal clean and be clean during menstrual cycle. this will reduce the risk of severity of infection. please consult doctor for further treatment.

  16. If there is any inching is that place. What will be the problem. What tablets we should take

    • It might be due to allergy and also because of improper hygiene in handling your genitalia. Soon consult with gynecology specialist to reduce the complications in future.

  17. I enjoy what you people are now up to. Such clever work and exposure! Carry on the fantastic work guys, I’ve you to our shareit apk download blog.

  18. Dr,pls @ times i feel pains in my vagina and wat the cause?

  19. pls I sometimes feels vagina itching, Dr pls wat the cause and wat should i do?

  20. can be able to keep updated without data?

  21. Hello, you are certainly correct. I frequently go through your content thoroughly. I’m also curious about omega xl benefits, you might talk about this from time to time. I will be back.

  22. plz healthcare and counseling doctors

  23. It’s amazing disease but it’s good for me to known

  24. I always feel like urinating any time my husband is making love to me,is it a virgine disease can it stop me from getting pregnant

  25. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again

  26. I am having such vaginal bacteria, seeing this White creamy stuff, what’s my remedy?
    play set

  27. Bakare Rukayat Olabimpe

    Hi Doc. tablet for treating yeast infection is not stated here. please can u prescribe one for me

  28. can bacteria viginosis cause lack of lobido during sex?
    if yes how can this be treated

    • There is no evidence of low libido but the women who have sex with other women can pass on the infection.
      Due to irritation and bad smell in the vagina you may lose feeling to have sex. This disease is easily treatable.
      Treatment is as follows.
      Antibiotics such as Metronidazole and Clindamycin.
      Probiotics either alone or combined with antibiotics.

  29. I’ve been experiencing pain during sex with my partner ,and I’ve use all d antifungal creams and d oral pills but still

  30. I have candida for 6 years now, I want to know if I can still cure it because I have used many drugs to treat it but to no avail

    • candida is one of the conditions that can be able to cure and treat. but based on the severity of infection drugs should be given for treatment and also hygiene condition should be maintained in your private part.

  31. please Dr. I have been suffering from candida sister from over 30yrs now, I have taken so many treatment but still know improvement what should I do

    • 1) 14-day cream, ointment, tablet, or suppository vaginal treatment
      2) Two or three doses of fluconazole (Diflucan)
      3) Long-term prescription of fluconazole (Diflucan) taken once a week for six weeks, or long-term use of a topical antifungal medication
      If your infection is recurring, you may also want to see if your sexual partner has a yeast infection. Remember to use condoms when having sex if you suspect either of you has a yeast infection.

  32. my wife has this infection candida and still she hasn’t get good doctor and our country has no medicine quality

    • Follow the home remedies as denoted in the post. If the problem appears even after the home remedies please consult a doctor to avoid futuristic effects.

  33. I actually came over here via another page about Arvind Pandit and considered I might as well look at this. I love the things I see therefore now I am following you. Looking forward to checking out your site all over again.

  34. tnx God I’ve learn so much.but i just wanna ask how to cure batholin abscess

  35. how are the dosages of the antibiotics

    • Dosage will vary based on the severity of the infection. some antibiotic dosage is as follows:
      Oral dosage:
      Metronidazole-500 mg twice daily for seven days or 2 g in a single dose
      Clindamycin (Cleocin)- 300 mg twice daily for seven days
      topical dosage:
      Clindamycin 2% vaginal cream- 5 g at bedtime for seven days
      Metronidazole vaginal gel (Metrogel vaginal)- 5 g twice daily or at bedtime for five days

  36. I have to express some appreciation to you for bailing me out of this particular setting. As a result of looking throughout the online world and meeting advice that were not helpful, I assumed my entire life was done. Being alive minus the solutions to the issues you have sorted out by means of the posting is a serious case, as well as those that would have negatively damaged my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your blog. Your primary expertise and kindness in dealing with every aspect was valuable. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t encountered such a point like this. I am able to at this moment relish my future. Thanks a lot so much for this high quality and effective help. I won’t think twice to refer the website to any person who would like assistance on this subject.

  37. Thank you very much for your interest.

  38. Pls I think am havin this bacterial vaginosis….pls wat medication or drug shuld I go for….pls help me awt

  39. I have staph infection is it possible to use diflucan and penicillin injection together

  40. Kalenge Josephine

    I have PID.the dr.prescribed bt still nothing has changed

  41. pls I’m suffering form
    candidiasis

  42. pls I’m suffering from white

  43. please what drugs can I use to unblock fallopian tubes and stop milk discharge from my breast.?

  44. hi doctor I’m currently suffering from an infection it is not an std but the doctors keeping giving me different anti biotic and it keeps going and coming sometimes my discharge is white and t
    hick and it smells sometimes it’s just runny abit and whitish and it often so comes after sex on my partner penis we’re tested for stds both partners negative.plzz help

  45. I once had this irritating virginal itching that I contacted through the use of general toilet. But I got rid of it with garlic, I was inserting a small clove of peeled garlic(I passed a thin thread through it) in my vegina for a month(in the night preferably when am about to sleep) when I wake up I pull it out with the help of the thread…. And it all disappeared, and I got my vegina back! All thanks to GARLIC

  46. Please Dr, have treated my vagina discharge several times but it persist. The discharge is like pus and I don’t know what to do again after treatment it reoccur.

  47. I am pregnant and I hve had virginitis yeast infection 4 long tym now.wat will I do!?i hve visited a doc severally bt no change.help me pliz.

  48. Good day doc, please I need your help, I have been suffering from this infection for 3 years now Virgina itching, loss of mense and discharge. I ve gone for many tests, I ve taken a lot drugs, injections, even ginger and garlic and many more. among the drugs nystatin oral, rocephin injections, metronidazole, nystatin virginal insert, pardole, loratadine tablet, ofloxacin and ornidazole tablet and a lots which I don’t remember yet all to no avail, I ve seen my doc, scan,hormones test

  49. Thank you for reminding me that the use of vagina sprays and perfumed soap are not safe to the woman healthy.

  50. Hi its been 4 years without seeing my menstruation.. Is it normal?

  51. My client has produced white discharge tell me the cause of it.

    • Birth control: Birth control changes your hormone levels, which can lead to increased discharge. This is a normal side effect of hormonal birth control.
      Pregnancy: Discharge before you’re supposed to get your period can be an early sign of pregnancy. Discharge from pregnancy can be hard to tell apart from discharge that is just part of your monthly cycle, but it is usually thicker and creamier than “normal” discharge.
      A sexually transmitted infection (STI or STD): Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomonas are the STIs most likely to cause discharge. If you have gonorrhea or chlamydia, the discharge will be more yellow and pus-like. However, these STIs are often asymptomatic. Trichomonas is more likely to lead to symptoms, including greenish or yellowish, fishy-smelling discharge and itching.
      Yeast infection (candidiasis)

  52. Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  53. can give fluconazole tab in this infection

  54. please I have treat for it but still seen the white and small scent .what should I do

    • clean your private part once you finished urinating. this will reduce the smelling and also keep hygienic.

  55. The application is very good . The information there is vital and relevant.

  56. nice application

  57. pls where do I get boric acid?

  58. since menopause I hve been having severe itching as well as where I urinate and a daily yellow discharge, I hve used all the medicines but of no use, they tend to irritate it further….what is it and what should I do pls??

  59. Please Dr… I used to menstruate for 5days… For 3 years it has reduced to 2-3 days.. I have received treatment from many doctors but it still the same… Please is it normal and if it not what should I do or what medicine should I take..??

  60. Hello Dr, please my four years old daughter is urinating blood and she is also in pain and the urine is coming up in drop. What should we do?

  61. I have out urine after every half hour,whats problem please consult me about it and madecine

  62. I have many time out urine.whats problem please consult me about it and madecine

  63. my Virgina is loose and watery what should I do ?

  64. Hi sometimes I see some thick yellowish fluid from my vagina and I experience severe itching after bath and some spotting around my vagina in all I’ve consulted a doctor for about 3 times and they gave me medicine including clotrimazole and fluconazole but still was to no avail please can you tell me why?and what causes that because it’s over a long time..

  65. Pls What causes Candida

    • warm weather
      tight clothing
      poor hygiene
      infrequent undergarment changes
      obesity
      the use of antibiotics
      Chronic stress
      The contraceptive pill
      Mercury in your fillings
      Chemical exposure
      Diabetes

  66. What cause that

  67. Excellent

  68. I been having the yeast infection for a weak now and also painful boils what can I do?? can’t it stop on its own?

  69. please how can I get rid of vaginal discharge and itching…. please help me out

  70. am having pelvic inflammatory disease, please I need help

  71. Dr.James Michael

    It’s very interesting, and if we can get more herbal or alternative medicine teaching or practicing than the Orthodox will help.Thank and God BLESS you.

  72. Dr.James Michael

    Thanks

  73. Vincentia Agyapong

    I hv been experiencing white discharge from my Virginia for the part 4years what medicine should I use

    • if the white discharge is very less then it is a normal condition. If the discharge is often like wetting your clothes then you should consult a doctor for the treatment.

  74. I have viginal itching and white discharge, pls help me out. I have gone so many tests.

  75. Kudos to you Doc.
    Thanks for the research and solution given.
    God bless you.

  76. hi,please am a lady of 28 years and I have a yeast infection for over ten years now,I have been to the hospital and I was given medication for it but to no avail, and I feel pains when I urinate this started some few days ago, it was after I had sex with my partner and am in my menstrual cycle too so I don’t know what to do, please in really need help

  77. hi, I think I have one of the vaginal disease, am realising whitish and creamish fluid and it smells horribly, please help

  78. discharges whitish and creamy fluid from my vagina…please help

  79. pls Doc, I’ve a test result I’ll like u to see and make suggestions please kindly send a mail or number so I can share d image.
    thanks in anticipation

  80. consequences for untreated vaginal yeast infection

  81. does my husband suppose to get treat too since am treating my self

  82. my wife experiance white discharges and iching

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