Vaginitis covers many different disorders that cause inflammation in the vaginal area. These conditions can lead to changes in discharge, pain, and itchiness. Vaginitis is often caused by infections from yeast or virus, and imbalances in vaginal bacteria. But vaginitis can also stem from irritations from everyday products and clothing, reduction in estrogen levels after menopause, and vaginal dryness.

What is Vaginitis?

Vaginitis refers to vaginal inflammation. There are different types of vaginitis, such as: 

  • Bacterial vaginosis or BV - This infection occurs from overgrowth of the harmful bacteria in the vagina. BV disrupts the natural balance and causes an imbalance. 
  • Yeast infections - are often the result of the Candida albicans fungus that are found in the vaginally.
  • Atrophic vaginitis - This is a non-infectious form of vaginitis that occurs from lack of estrogen.
  • Trichomoniasis - This condition is from a parasite that is often passed through sexual transmission.
  • Chlamydia - This is a common sexually transmitted infection that mainly affects people with multiple sexual partners.
  • Herpes - a sexually transmitted infection that causes painful sores.

What causes Vaginitis?

Because there are various types of vaginitis, there could be multiple causes of it. 

  • Changes in the vagina’s natural environment - when the cause of the vaginitis is from yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, it is because of the changes in the microorganisms that live in the vagina. For example, bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is overgrowth of BV-associated bacteria, such as gardnerella vaginalis. Meanwhile, yeast infections occur due to overgrowth of candida fungus. The vagina has candida and gardnerella vaginalis, as well as other microorganisms that keep the vagina healthy when they are balanced. But when one grows more than the other, the pH imbalance will lead to infection.
  • Irritants - from chemicals in our washes, lotions, detergent, hygiene products, and even clothing can cause vaginitis. These products may have harmful ingredients that are bad for your vaginal health and disturb the vaginal environment.
  • Sexually transmitted infections - caused by bacteria, viruses (herpes), and parasites (chlamydia) can be transmitted sexually through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. 
  • Low estrogen - changes in hormone levels, particularly estrogen, can result in vaginitis.

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How is Vaginitis Diagnosed?

Vaginitis can be diagnosed by your healthcare provider by different types of examinations. 

  • Pelvic exam - During this exam, your medical provider will use an instrument to look inside the vagina for any inflammation and vaginal discharge.
  • Fluid sample for medical lab - another common examination by medical providers is collecting vaginal fluid samples (cervical or vaginal discharge) that will be sent through a medical laboratory where the vaginal cells will be examined for signs and types of vaginitis you have.
  • pH testing. Your medical provider might test your vaginal pH by applying a pH paper or test stick to your vagina wall. High pH can be a result of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. 

    How is Vaginitis Treated?

    The first step to treating vaginitis is finding the cause, such as the organisms and conditions causing it. Once the diagnosis is known, the treatment will target that specific cause. Vaginitis can be a result of different causes. Unfortunately, many of the causes have similar symptoms. You can help yourself get better treatment by paying attention and marking down all your symptoms, such as vaginal discharge changes (color, consistency, smell).

    For specific vaginitis, your medical provider may prescribe some of the medications. For example, if you have bacterial vaginosis, your medical provider may prescribe you metronidazole tablets, metronidazole gel, clindamycin cream, clindamycin tablets, clindamycin capsules, tinidazole or secnidazole to treat your BV symptoms. Many individuals also utilize other effective methods, such as our boric acid, to treat bacterial vaginosis quickly and naturally.

    If you have a yeast infection, your doctor may prescribe you antifungal medication such as fluconazole to treat the infection. Your provider could also give you a list of over-the-counter antifungal creams or suppositories, such as miconazole, clotrimazole, or butoconazole, that are cost-effective and convenient. You can also opt for a natural option like our boric acid to treat yeast infections in as little as a day. If your diagnosis is noninfectious vaginitis, the best treatment is to find the culprit causing the vaginitis and stop the usage of the product(s) immediately.

    If you have any of these symptoms, contact your medical provider:

    • Symptoms worsen or persist.
    • Recurrent vaginitis after you finish treatment.
    • You have a fever, pelvic pain, or chills.
    • You have diabetes, cancer, or other health conditions.
    • You have a new sexual partner or have had multiple sexual partners and are worried about sexually transmitted infections.

    Do not delay treatment for any reason. Tell your doctor about your symptoms and get checked as soon as possible!

    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.