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Vaginitis – What Is It, And How Is It Treated?

The vagina can be a sensitive part of the body, easily attracting infections, inflammations, and irritations. Vaginitis refers to an inflammation caused by either bacteria or an infection.

There are several different kinds of vaginitis:

  • Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of natural bacteria found in your vagina.
  • Yeast infections caused by too much Candida albicans can also lead to vaginitis.
  • Trichomoniasis is a parasite often transmitted through sexual contact.
  • Noninfectious vaginitis can be caused by sprays, douches, and perfumed soaps that irritate the issue. Even forgotten tampons can lead to noninfectious vaginitis.
  • Vaginal atrophy, often caused by reduced estrogen levels in older women or after removal of the ovaries, can cause a thinning of the vaginal lining, resulting in vaginal irritation and dryness.

If you have vaginitis, you may experience discharge, pain during sex or urination, itching, and sometimes even bleeding, but the symptoms may vary, depending on the cause of the vaginitis. With bacterial vaginosis, the discharge might be gray or white and have a fishy odor. Yeast infections often cause more itching and have a white discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Discharge from a trichomoniasis infection can be greenish-yellow and frothy. Our doctors or advanced practice providers can evaluate for the cause of your discomfort by performing a pelvic exam and taking a sample of the discharge for analysis.

If you have been diagnosed with vaginitis, don’t worry. There are medications on the market today that can clear up the infection or irritation. These might be in the form of pills you take by mouth or gels that you apply to the affected area. Yeast infections can often be treated with over-the-counter creams or suppositories, and vaginal atrophy responds well to estrogen creams, tablets, or rings.

Don’t suffer in silence. Ask one of our doctors or advanced practice providers about any vaginal irritation that makes you uncomfortable.