An Introduction to Vaginitis:
An inflammation of the vagina, vaginitis is denoted by vaginal discharge, itching and pain. While vaginitis is frequently caused by a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria, lowered estrogen-levels after menopause have also been known to cause vaginal inflammation. There are 4 many types of vaginitis:
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) – BV is caused by an overgrowth of the normal bacteria found within the vagina. While there are no clear causes for BV, some factors have been known to make an occurrence of BV more likely. These include: sex with a new partner, sex with multiple partners and douching.
- Yeast Infections – A yeast infection is normally caused by an overgrowth of the naturally occurring fungus Candida albicans. Yeast infections are normally characterized by vaginal itching and soreness. A yeast infection may cause pain or a burning sensation during urination or sex. Additionally, some women have a thick, odorless white discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
- Trichomoniasis (Trich) – Trich is a commonly transmitted STD caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It is important to note that 70% of those infected with Trich do not exhibit symptoms. However, for those who do show symptoms of the infection, symptoms can range from vaginal inflammation, itching, burning and redness of the genital area. Some women experience burning during urination and may experience an unusual smelling discharge that can be clear, white, yellowish or greenish. While Trich can cause serious complications if not treated, it can be cured with a single dose of a prescription antibiotic.
- Vaginal Atrophy (Atrophic Vaginitis) – Atrophic Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina caused by the thinning of internal vaginal tissue as a result of decreased estrogen levels. This is common in postmenopausal women.
What is Recurrent Vaginitis?
While the occasional occurrence of vaginitis is not uncommon in women of all ages, recurrent vaginitis is characterized by recurring or persistent vaginal inflammation that causes frequent discomfort.
How do I treat Recurrent Vaginitis?
In order to treat recurrent vaginitis, it is first necessary to determine the root cause of your vaginal inflammation. After this has been determined, your healthcare provider at the Center for Women’s Sexual Health will work with you to create a personally tailored treatment plan. Common treatments for Recurrent Vaginitis include: oral or vaginal antibiotics, lifestyle changes such as changes to diet or hygiene habits, and temporary sexual abstinence until the vaginal inflammation has been reduced.