The term vaginitis describes conditions that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina. It can be a result of an infection by certain organisms such as bacteria, yeast or viruses or irritation and inflammation (due to chemicals in creams, sprays or even clothing) that come in contact with the vaginal area. In some women, it may be caused by organisms that are transmitted between sexual partners such as chlamydia and trichomonas. Prognosis of vaginitis depends on the underlying cause and efficacy of treatment.
Prognosis of vaginitis
Vaginal candidiasis: Most women with vaginal candidiasis respond well to treatment with medications such as miconazole, tioconazole, butoconazole, clotrimazole creams and gels. The infection usually clears in 1-2 weeks of treatment. If the infection takes time to clear or recurs after treatment, it may be because of some other underlying problem such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes, chemotherapy that weakens the immune system.
Chlamydia vaginitis: Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment of chlamydia infection. With appropriate treatment, chlamydial infections can be cured 95% of the time. Complications of chlamydia in women if not treated appropriately include irreversible damage to the female reproductive organs and infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (about 10 to 40% of women will develop pelvic inflammatory disease) and cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix).
Non-infectious vaginitis: Vaginitis caused because of allergic reaction or irritation to various products such as vaginal sprays, scented soap, douches or spermicidal products requires avoidance of the causative factor and treatment to relieve symptoms. Prognosis of this type of vaginitis is good if the causative factor can be avoided. Acute symptoms of non-infectious vaginitis respond well to prescribed medicated creams.
Bacterial vaginosis: Treatment of this type of vaginitis with prescription medications cures the infection, but many women may have recurrent bacterial vaginosis. If you have recurrent bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may recommend tests to rule out any predisposing factor.
Trichomoniasis: Treatment of trichomoniasis cures the infection. It is treated with a single dose of prescription antibiotics. Treatment of sexual partners at the same time is needed to prevent them from reinfecting each other.
Viral vaginitis: Viruses are common cause of vaginitis and the two types of virus that commonly cause vaginitis are herpes simplex virus (HSV) and Human papilloma virus (HPV). Treatment does not cure genital herpes or HPV, but the symptoms can be controlled with medications. Following the initial infection, these virus stay in the person’s body for life and can lead to a recurrence of the symptoms.