A Woman's Guide to Vaginitis
Vaginitis is a condition in which there is an inflammation of the vagina. It is also characterized by discharge, odor, irritation, and itching. There are many agents that can cause vaginitis. These are bacteria, yeast, chemicals, and even clothing. Vaginitis can also be a sexually transmitted disease and it is influenced by many factors like health, personal hygiene, medications, hormones, health of the sexual partner, and disturbance of the genitalia.
The Many Types of Vaginitis and Their Treatments
It is important to know the different types of vaginitis so that you can understand the right treatment. They come from different causes and they often have different symptoms. More than one type of vaginitis can occur at the same time with or without the presence of the symptoms and you must take note to identify them correctly.
- Candida or yeast infection
- Caused by the fungus Candida, yeast cells normally live in the vagina but only in small numbers. The most common symptom is the thick, white vaginal discharge that is usually odorless and watery, and causes redness and itchiness in the vulva and vagina over time. The treatment will be determined by the physician based on the woman's overall health and medical history. It may include antifungal vaginal creams, vaginal tablets, and antibiotics.
- Bacterial vaginosis
- This is the most common type of vaginitis, and it is caused by a bacteria. Symptoms may include a milky thin discharge and a fishy odor that may become noticeable during intercourse. Treating it will be as simple as taking in oral antibiotics.
- Trichomoniasis vaginitis
- This is caused by a parasite and it can be easily transmitted through sexual intercourse. Symptoms include a greenish yellow discharge with a musty smell and itching around the vagina. It also causes discomfort on the lower abdomen and there is a burning sensation when a woman urinates. Also, women with this infection experience pain during sexual intercourse. Treatment requires only oral antibiotics but both partners need to take medication in order to avoid recurring infection.
- Chlamydia vaginitis
- This is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and it often goes undiagnosed. If this infection is left untreated, it will result in pelvic inflammatory disease. This is caused by a bacterium and different strains of it exist. Symptoms include a light bleeding with pain in the lower abdomen. Women with this infection often have pus in their urine and there is a redness and swelling in the urethra and labia. Antibiotics are used to treat this infection.
- Viral vaginitis
- This is often the most common cause of vaginitis. One type that causes this and other sexually-related diseases is the human papillomavirus or HPV. Symptoms include the presence of warts in the genitalia and this is simply detected by a Pap test. There is a vaccine widely used in treating and preventing this infection.
- Noninfectious vaginitis
- This refers to vaginal irritation without an infection. It is usually caused by an allergic reaction from any chemical that is applied to the genitals. Symptoms include itching, burning, and even pelvic pain. Treating this vaginal infection includes applying estrogen creams and oral tablets. This restores lubrication and decrease the soreness and irritation of the genitals.
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About the Author:
Dr. James S. Pendergraft, board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine and high-risk pregnancies, opened the Orlando Women's Center Abortion Clinic in March 1996 to provide a full range of health care for women, including second and late term abortions, physical examinations, family planning, counseling, laboratory services and sexually transmitted disease screening and counseling. To learn more, visit www.womenscenter.com.
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