Symptoms of Vaginitis

By  , Expert Content
Feb 21, 2012

The symptoms of vaginitis vary depending on the underlying cause (infection or inflammation). Severity of symptoms may vary from mild to severe and some women may have no symptoms at all. There, however, are some common symptoms present in most forms of vaginitis. These include:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge (thick or thin) that may be foul smelling,
  • burning sensation on passing urine,
  • pain on urination,
  • itching or irritation around the outside of the vagina and
  • pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Some of the common types of vaginitis include:

  • Candida or "yeast" vaginitis,
  • Bacterial vaginosis,
  • Trichomoniasis vaginitis (a sexually transmitted infection),
  • Chlamydia vaginitis,
  • viral vaginitis,
  • non-infectious vaginitis and
  • Atrophic vaginitis.

Yeast infections: Candida or "yeast" infection of the vagina is probably the most common cause of vaginitis. Candida is a normal flora of the vagina and infection occurs when an excess of the fungus Candida grows in the vagina. Vaginal candidiasis can cause abnormal white discharge that is thick and can look like cottage cheese. Some women may have watery discharge with or without smell. Other symptoms that may occur include itching or burning in the vaginal area and redness of the vaginal area. Only rarely will some women have dysuria or pain while urinating, pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Bacterial vaginosis: Bacterial vaginosis is the most common type of vaginal infection in women of child-bearing age. Similar to vaginal candidiasis, it is also caused by overgrowth of bacteria that are normally found in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis can cause abnormal vaginal discharge that is thin and milky and may have a "fishy" odour. Some women may have no discharge or any other symptom and the condition is discovered during a routine gynaecologic exam.

Trichomoniasis: It is a type of sexually transmitted disease caused by infection with a single-cell parasite. Symptoms that may occur include vaginal itching, burning and soreness of the vagina and vulva as well as burning during urination. Some women may have no symptoms even when they are infected.

Chlamydia: Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused due to infection with Chlamydia trichomatis. According to studies, about 50 to-75 percent of all women infected with chlamydia experience no symptoms. Some symptoms that may develop in women with chlamydia infection include painful urination (due to cystitis), vaginal discharge that may be clear yellowish or foul smelling, vaginal irritation, dull pain in the lower abdominal and pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse.

Viral vaginitis:  It is caused because of infection with herpes simplex virus or human papilloma virus (HPV) that spreads through sexual intercourse. Symptom of herpes vaginitis includes pain in lesions or sores present in vagina. The sores can be seen on the vulva or the vagina during a gynaecologic exam.

Noninfectious vaginitis: This type of vaginitis is caused because of allergic reaction or irritation to various products such as vaginal sprays, scented soap, douches or spermicidal products. Symptom of non-infectious vaginitis includes irritation in the form of itching and burning or either of them and redness of vaginal and vulval area.

Atrophic vaginitis: It occurs in post menopausal women because of deficiency of estrogen. Symptoms may include burning during urination, itching in the vaginal area and discomfort or pain during intercourse.



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