Overview

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that can cause discharge, itching, and pain. The cause is usually a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria or an infection. A reduction in estrogen levels after menopause and certain skin disorders can also cause vaginitis.

The most common types of vaginitis are:

Bacterial vaginosis, which results from a change in the normal bacteria in your vagina to an overgrowth of other organisms
Yeast infections, usually caused by a natural fungus called Candida albicans
Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and is commonly transmitted through sex
Treatment depends on the type of vaginitis you have.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of vaginitis can include:

Change in the color, smell, or amount of discharge from your vagina
Vaginal itching or irritation
Painful intercourse
Painful urination
Light vaginal bleeding or spots
If you have a vaginal discharge that many women don’t, the characteristics of the discharge can suggest the type of vaginitis you have. Examples include:

Bacterial vaginosis. You may develop an off-white, malodorous discharge. The odor, often referred to as the fishy odor, can be more noticeable after intercourse.
Yeast infection. The main symptom is itching, but you may have a white, thick discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
Trichomoniasis. An infection called trichomoniasis (Trik-o-moe-NIE-uh-sis) can cause a greenish-yellow, sometimes foamy, discharge.

Causes

The cause depends on the type of vaginitis you have:

Bacterial vaginosis. This most common cause of vaginitis results from a change in the normal bacteria in your vagina, to an overgrowth of one of several other organisms. Usually, the bacteria normally present in the vagina (lactobacilli) outnumber the other bacteria (anaerobes) in your vagina. If the anaerobic bacteria become too numerous, they upset the balance, causing bacterial vaginosis.

This type of vaginitis seems to be related to sex – especially if you have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner – but it also occurs in women who are not sexually active.

Yeast infections. These occur when there is an overgrowth of a fungal organism – usually C. albicans – in your vagina. C. albicans also causes infections in other moist areas of your body, such as your mouth (thrush), skin folds and fingernails. The fungus can also cause diaper rash.
Trichomoniasis. This common sexually transmitted infection is caused by a microscopic one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This organism is spread during sex with an infected person.

In men, the body usually infects the urinary tract, but often it does not cause any symptoms. In women, trichomoniasis usually infects the vagina and can cause symptoms. It also increases the risk of women getting other sexually transmitted infections.

Non-infectious vaginitis. Vaginal sprays, gentle showers, scented soaps, scented detergents, and spermicidal products can cause an allergic reaction or irritate the vulvar and vaginal tissues. Foreign objects, such as tissue paper or forgotten tampons, in the vagina can also irritate vaginal tissue.
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vaginal atrophy). A reduction in estrogen levels after menopause or having your ovaries surgically removed can thin the vaginal lining, sometimes causing vaginal irritation, burning, and dryness.

Types

The most common types of vaginitis are:

Bacterial vaginosis, which results from changing the normal bacteria in your vagina to overgrow other organisms
Yeast infections, usually caused by a naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans
Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and is often transmitted through sexual intercourse

Treatment

A variety of organisms and conditions can cause vaginitis, so treatment targets the specific cause:

Bacterial vaginosis. For this type of vaginitis, your doctor may prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl) tablets that you take by mouth or metronidazole gel (MetroGel) or clindamycin cream (Cleocin) that you apply to your vagina. You will need to get tested and receive a prescription for these drugs.
Yeast infections. Yeast infections are usually treated with an over-the-counter antifungal cream or suppository, such as miconazole (Monistat 1), clotrimazole, butoconazole, or tioconazole (Vagistat-1). Yeast infections can also be treated with a prescription oral antifungal medication, such as fluconazole (Diflucan). The benefits of over-the-counter treatment are convenience, cost, and not waiting to see your doctor. However, you might have something other than a yeast infection. Using the wrong medication can delay accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Trichomoniasis. Your doctor may prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax) tablets for you.
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vaginal atrophy). Estrogen – in the form of vaginal creams, tablets, or rings – can effectively treat this condition. This treatment is available on prescription from your doctor, after examining other risk factors and possible complications.
Non-infectious vaginitis. To treat this type of vaginitis, you need to identify the source of the irritation and avoid it. Possible sources include new soap, laundry detergent, sanitary napkins or tampons.

Diagosis

To diagnose vaginitis, your doctor will likely:

Review your medical history. This includes your history of vaginal or sexually transmitted infections.
Do a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, your doctor may use an instrument (speculum) to look for inflammation and abnormal discharge in your vagina.
Collect a sample for laboratory testing. Your doctor may take a sample of the cervical or vaginal discharge for laboratory tests to confirm what type of vaginitis you have.
Do a pH test. Your doctor can test your vaginal pH by applying a pH test pen or paper to the wall of your vagina. An increased pH can indicate either bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. However, PH testing alone is not a reliable diagnostic test.

Risk factors

Factors that increase your risk of developing vaginitis include:

Hormonal changes, such as those associated with pregnancy, birth control pills, or menopause
Sexual activity
Have a sexually transmitted infection
Drugs, such as antibiotics and steroids
Use of spermicides for birth control
Uncontrolled diabetes
Use of hygiene products such as bubble bath, vaginal spray or vaginal deodorant
Douching
Wear damp or tight-fitting clothing
Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
Complications
Women with trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis are at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections due to the inflammation caused by these disorders. In pregnant women, symptomatic bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis have been associated with preterm deliveries and low birth weight babies.

Health conditons

Good hygiene can prevent some types of vaginitis from coming back and relieve some symptoms:

Avoid baths, hot tubs, and hot tubs.
Avoid irritants. These include scented tampons, pads, showers, and scented soaps. After you shower, rinse soap off your external genital area and dry the area well to avoid irritation. Do not use harsh soaps such as deodorants or antibacterials, or bubble baths.
After using the toilet, wipe from front to back. This will prevent feces from spreading in your vagina.
Other things you can do to prevent vaginitis include:

Don’t shower. Your vagina just needs to be bathed normally. Repeated showering disrupts the normal organisms that are in the vagina and can increase the risk of vaginal infections. Showering will not cure a vaginal infection.
Use a latex condom. Both male and female latex condoms can help you avoid infection from sexual contact.
Wear cotton underwear. Also wear pantyhose with a cotton crotch. If you’re comfortable without it, skip wearing underwear to bed. Yeast thrives in moist environments.

When to see docter

See your doctor if you develop unusual vaginal discomfort, especially if:

You have a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor, discharge or itching.
You have never had a vaginal infection. Consulting your doctor can establish the cause and help you identify the signs and symptoms.
You have ever had vaginal infections.
You have had multiple sexual partners or a recent new partner. You could have a sexually transmitted infection. Some sexually transmitted infections have signs and symptoms similar to a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
You have been on an over-the-counter yeast treatment and your symptoms persist.
You have fever, chills, or pelvic pain.
Wait-and-see approach
You probably don’t need to see your doctor every time you have vaginal irritation and discharge, especially if:

You have been diagnosed with vaginal yeast infection in the past and your signs and symptoms are the same as before
You know the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection and you are convinced that this is what you have

How much cost

The price of treatment depends on the type of infection you are undergoing treatment. The average price starts from one thousand rupees and can go up to ten thousand rupees.

Duration

Although the complete course for the treatment may take 7days, bacterial vaginosis normally takes 2-3 days to cure with the help of antibiotic medicines. During this period the patient is advised to carry on with the prescribed medication even if the condition shows signs of improvement.