Itching, burning, or abnormal discharge aren’t symptoms any woman wants to deal with when it comes to her vaginal health. Vaginitis is a common condition treated by the expert physicians at Capital Women’s Care in Leesburg and Sterling, Virginia. Whether you’re concerned about acute symptoms or have a recurring problem, this qualified team of OB/GYN doctors offers fast and effective solutions for women seeking relief and care.
What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis, also called “vulvovaginitis,” is an infection of the vagina and/or the vulva that can cause inflammation, pain, itching, and abnormal discharge. There are different causes of vaginitis, oftentimes resulting from a change in the balance of bacteria or the pH of the vagina. Some things that can upset the balance of bacteria include:
- Unprotected sex, especially if it’s with a new partner
- Taking antibiotics or medications
- Douching, or excessive cleaning of the vagina
- Reduced estrogen levels due to menopause
- Fungal or skin conditions
- Sensitivities to topical medications, powders, lotions, lubricants, etc.
- Menopausal changes in the anatomy of the vagina
The most common types of vaginitis are:
- Bacterial vaginosis, which is a vaginal infection caused by an overgrowth of bacteria
- Yeast infections, which are caused by the Candida albicans fungus
- Trichomoniasis, which is a parasitic infection transmitted through sexual intercourse
- Atrophic vaginitis, which is the loss of estrogen and natural lubrication of the vagina
- Contact dermatitis, which is like an allergy to something coming in contact with the area
What are the symptoms of vaginitis?
Symptoms of vaginitis may come and go or worsen over time if left untreated. If you have vaginitis, you may experience:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Vaginal itching and/or redness
- A strong vaginal odor (fishy or sour)
- Burning during urination
- Pain during sex
- Light spotting or bleeding
The different types of vaginitis might produce varied symptoms, especially when it comes to discharge. With bacterial vaginosis, you might have white or gray discharge with a foul odor. A yeast infection may create a thick, white, cottage-cheese-like discharge with itching and redness. Trichomoniasis may cause a green or yellow discharge. Atrophic vaginitis can cause a thin yellow discharge and a sensation of dryness. Contact dermatitis causes pain and redness without a lot of discharge.
In some cases, vaginitis may also cause fever, chills, or extreme pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
How is vaginitis treated?
Since there are different causes of vaginitis, your physician first determines which type you have, and this will affect the course of your treatment:
If you have a common yeast infection — and you’ve successfully treated one before with over-the-counter remedies — your physician might recommend the same approach. You might also take a prescription antifungal medication.
To treat bacterial vaginosis, your doctor might prescribe an oral antibiotic medication or cream to apply to the vagina.
For this parasitic form of vaginitis, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or anti-parasitic medication for you and your sexual partner.
Lubricants, vaginal moisturizers, avoiding chemical irritants/soaps, and vaginal estrogen replacement are all helpful in managing this condition. Also NeuViva vaginal treatment procedures can restore natural lubrication and thickness to the vaginal walls.
Avoiding the offending agent is the primary treatment, and topical steroids are useful in helping to treat the initial inflammatory response.
With the right treatment, symptoms of vaginitis can usually be managed quickly and easily.
If you suspect you have vaginitis, book an appointment with one of Capital Women’s Care physicians today.