Vaginal Infections (Vaginitis)

Vaginal infections (vaginitis) are instances that manifest with burning, itching and discharge in the female external genitalia. 

What are the causes of Vaginitis?

Vaginitis can occur as an allergic reaction. Allergens that come into contact with the external genitalia (pads, deodorants, depilatory cremes), underwear with synthetic fabrics, leaving foreign bodies (tampons, condoms, diaphragm, etc.) in the vagina for long periods of time can cause allergic vaginitis.

Fungal and bacterial infections are also among the causes of vaginitis. 

How does vaginitis occur?

Most of our organs host a population of healthy bacteria in the normal organ tissue that form a natural flora. In the vagina, these bacteria that live at a natural acidic pH level are called the lactobacillus. Vaginal infection risk increases when the number of lactobacillus is lowered due to the use of antibiotics, frequent vaginal douching and changes in the pH level.
What are the symptoms of Vaginitis?
Vaginal discharge is the most common symptom in vaginal infections. However it is important to distinguish discharge resulting from an infection from regular physiological vaginal discharge. Physiological discharge is colorless and odorless whereas a discharge resulting from vaginitis would be yellow or green in color and have a foul smell. The discharge may also be accompanied by burning sensation in the vagina and external genitals, painful sexual intercourse and itching. 

Fungi, bacteria and parasites may also contribute to vaginitis.

1. Fungal Vaginitis

It is usually prevalent in pregnant women, women on antibiotics or birth control pills and diabetes patients. Leaving wet swimsuit on after swimming also paves the way for fungal vaginitis. Fungal vaginitis discharge is very typical. It is white and resembles cottage cheese and is accompanied by frequent itching. Itching may spread to external genitalia and form a vulvitis. Treatment requires pills, suppositories and creams. The partner does not need to be treated. 

2. Bacterial Vaginitis

Gardnerella Vaginalis is the most common cause of bacterial vaginitis. In this type of vaginitis, a yellow-green foul smelling (fish) discharge is observed. The smell increases following intercourse. This type of vaginitis may induce miscarriages. The treatment requires antibiotics in the form of a pill or suppository. Partner treatment is not required. 

3. Parasitic Vaginitis 

The most common cause is the parasite called Trichomoniasis vaginalis which is sexually transmitted. A green, foul smelling discharge is observed. Painful urination is also one of the symptoms. It is treated with anti-parasitic pills.
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