The term vaginitis describes disorders that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina. When the vulva (the outer area of labial and skin surrounding the vagina) is also affected, it is known as vulvovaginitis.
Vaginitis can be caused due to several different factors. Some of the common causes of vaginitis include:
Vaginitis may be caused by excessive antibiotic use, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, steroid use and a weakened immune system.
Symptoms of vaginitis
Signs and symptoms experienced by a woman can 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. Some common symptoms that are present in most forms of vaginitis are:
Diagnosis and treatment
Vaginitis is diagnosed based on medical history and gynaecologic exam. Tests may be done to confirm the cause of vaginitis. Some tests that may be done include wet-mount preparation, KOH preparation and Whiff test and urine tests.
As there are several causes of vaginitis, a key to successful treatment is proper diagnosis. Medication prescribed for vaginitis may include oral medications, creams and suppositories. Treatment of bacterial vaginosis includes metronidazole tablets (taken orally), metronidazole gel for application in vagina or clindamycin cream for local application in the vagina. Most women need treatment for five to seven days. Yeast infections in most women can be treated with over-the-counter medications (such as miconazole, tioconazole, butoconazole, clotrimazole creams and gels). If the symptoms do not improve with over-the-counter medications, consult a doctor. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before using any treatment.
Prevention of vaginitis
You can reduce your chances of getting vaginitis by following the given steps: