What is vaginitis ?
Vaginitis is inflammation of a woman's vagina. Up to a third of women will experience symptoms of vaginitis at some point in their lives. Vaginitis affects women of all ages, but is most common during their reproductive years. There are many possible factors and the type of treatment depends on the cause.
What are the symptoms of vaginitis ?
Symptoms vary according to the type of vaginitis. For example, the most common type of vaginitis is a yeast infection. Some types of antibiotics increase this risk. It manifests itself with itching and burning of the vulva region outside the vagina. The burning may be worse with urination or sexual intercourse. The vulva may be red and swollen. Vaginal discharge is usually white, lumpy and has no odor. Some women with yeast infections notice an increase or change in discharge. Others do not notice any current at all. A strong fishy-smelling discharge may indicate bacterial vaginosis. The odor may be stronger during the menstrual period or after sexual intercourse. The discharge is usually thin and dark or dull gray, but may also take on a greenish tint. Itching is not common, but may be present if there is a lot of discharge. Another type of vaginitis that spreads through sexual intercourse is Trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is a condition caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It is spread through sexual intercourse. Women with trichomoniasis are at increased risk from vaccination with other STDs. Trichomoniasis symptoms include a yellow-gray or green vaginal discharge. The discharge may have a fishy odor. There may be burning, irritation, redness, and swelling of the vulva. Sometimes it can be painful when urinating. In the case of atrophic vaginitis, it is not caused by an infection, but can cause discharge and vaginal irritation. It can occur at any time when female hormone levels drop, such as during breastfeeding or after menopause. Symptoms include dryness and burning. A change in the normal balance can allow fungi or bacteria to increase and cause vaginitis. This causes the epithelium of the vagina to become inflamed. Vaginitis can cause itching, foul odor, or copious discharge. In case of any abnormal discharge, burning or itching, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
What causes vaginitis ?
A small amount of clear or cloudy white fluid flowing from the woman's vagina is normal. This keeps the tissue wet and healthy. The vagina houses various organisms such as bacteria and fungi in balance so it can function normally. Some factors can disrupt this normal balance of the vagina:
- Changes in hormone levels
- Vaginal douches
- Spermicides (spermicidal substances used for contraception)
- Sexual intercourse
A change in the normal balance can allow fungi or bacteria to increase and cause vaginitis. This causes the epithelium of the vagina to become inflamed. Vaginitis can cause itching, foul odor, or copious discharge.
How is vaginitis diagnosed ?
For the diagnosis of vaginitis, a sample is taken from the vaginal discharge and this sample is examined. Do not douche before seeing the doctor to ensure the results of the tests are correct; You should not use any vaginal medication or spermicide.
How is vaginitis treated ?
Treatment is based on the cause of vaginitis. Treatment can be with an oral pill or a cream, tablet or gel applied to the vagina. In some cases, the spouse may also be given treatment.
It is important to follow the doctor's instructions exactly, even if the discharge or other symptoms disappear before you finish the medication. Although the symptoms may disappear, the infection may still be present. Stopping treatment early may cause symptoms to return. If symptoms recur after treatment is completed, it is necessary to see the doctor. A different treatment may be needed.
Frequently asked questions about vaginitis
What are the types of vaginitis ?
Fungal infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, atrophic vaginitis are types of vaginitis.
How does a fungal infection happen ?
Fungal infection is also known as candidiasis. It is one of the most common types of vaginal infections. It is caused by a fungus called Candida. It is found in small numbers in the normal vagina. However, when the balance of bacteria and fungi in the vagina changes, the fungi can overgrow and cause symptoms. Some types of antibiotics increase the risk of fungal infections. Antibiotics kill normal vaginal bacteria keeping the fungus in check; so the fungi can overgrow. A yeast infection is more likely if a woman is pregnant or has diabetes. Overgrowth of fungi can also happen if the immune system, which protects the body from diseases, is not working well. For example, fungal infections can be serious in women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). They may not go away even with treatment, or they may recur frequently. In many cases, the cause of fungal infection is unknown.
What are the signs of a fungal infection ?
The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are itching and burning of the area outside the vagina called the vulva. The burning may be worse with urination or sexual intercourse. The vulva may be red and swollen. Vaginal discharge is usually white, lumpy and has no odor. Some women with yeast infections notice an increase or change in discharge. Others do not notice any current at all.
How is a fungal infection treated ?
Fungal infections can be treated by inserting medication into the vagina or by swallowing pills. In the majority of cases, treatment of male sexual partners is not necessary. You should definitely see the doctor if:
- If you have a vaginal infection for the first time
- If your symptoms do not go away after treatment
- If your vaginal discharge is yellow or green or foul-smelling
- If you are likely to have a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Sometimes a woman may think she has a yeast infection when she actually has another problem. Just like fungi, there are various conditions that cause itching and burning. If there is another reason, if the woman is taking medication for a yeast infection, it may be more difficult to find the root cause.
What causes bacterial vaginosis ?
Bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis are naturally found in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by the overgrowth of these bacteria.
What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis ?
The most important symptom is increased discharge with a strong fishy odour. The smell may be stronger during your menstrual period or after sexual intercourse. The discharge is usually thin and dark or dull gray, but may also take on a greenish tint. Itching is not common, but may be present if there is a lot of discharge.
How is bacterial vaginosis treated ?
A variety of different antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial vaginosis, but there are two that are most commonly used. They can be taken orally or inserted into the vagina in the form of tablets, creams or gels. Some antibiotics can cause side effects in some patients when taken by mouth. These may be nausea, vomiting and darkening of the urine color, and may cause severe nausea and vomiting. Often there is no need to treat a woman's sexual partner. However, if the woman has recurrent infections, treatment of the partner may be helpful. Bacterial vaginosis often recurs. It may require long-term or repeated treatments. In the majority of cases, treatment works on time. Sometimes if bacterial vaginosis recurs, it could mean you have an STD. The doctor may run tests for other infections.
How does trichomoniasis happen ?
Trichomoniasis is a condition caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It is spread through sexual intercourse. Women with trichomoniasis are at increased risk from vaccination with other STDs.
What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis ?
Trichomoniasis symptoms include a yellow-gray or green vaginal discharge. The discharge may have a fishy odor. There may be burning, irritation, redness, and swelling of the vulva. Sometimes it can be painful when urinating.
How is trichomoniasis treated ?
Trichomoniasis is usually treated with a single dose of metronidazole by mouth. Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking this medicine because it can cause nausea and vomiting. Sexual partners should be treated to prevent recurrence of infection.
How does atrophic vaginitis happen ?
This condition is not caused by an infection, but can cause discharge and vaginal irritation. It can occur at any time when female hormone levels drop, such as during breastfeeding or after menopause. Symptoms include dryness and burning. Atrophic vaginitis is treated with estrogen, which can be applied as a vaginal cream, ring, or tablet. A water-soluble lubricant may also be beneficial during intercourse. As a result; See your doctor as soon as you notice any abnormal discharge or signs of vaginitis such as burning or itching. Although vaginitis can cause discomfort, it can almost always be treated once the causative agent is found.
What are the ways to prevent vaginitis ?
-Do not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented deodorant tampons.
-Do not try to hide or cover up a bad odor. This could be a sign of infection that requires you to see your doctor right away.
-Do not douche, do not wash the inside of the vagina. It is more correct to let the vagina clean itself.
-Use condoms during sexual intercourse.
-If you've been prescribed antibiotics for another type of infection, talk to your doctor about preventing fungal infections.
Is there a treatment for vaginitis ?
It is best to consult a doctor after noticing any abnormal discharge or symptoms of vaginitis such as burning or itching. Although vaginitis can cause discomfort, it can almost always be treated once the causative agent is found.
How to ensure genital hygiene during pregnancy ?
During pregnancy, the genital area becomes much more sensitive and more prone to infections. Due to the weight gained, this area is suitable to be more humid, and there may be a continuous discharge due to the increase in vaginal secretions during pregnancy. If it is not kept clean enough, infections with fungal and other foul-smelling itchy discharges are seen. For this reason, clothes should be changed frequently, synthetic nylon panties should be avoided, and cotton clothes should be preferred. Toilet cleaning should be done from front to back and if there are any symptoms such as itching, green discharge, burning, a doctor should be consulted quickly.
How should the genital area be cleaned ?
The most important rule to be considered in cleaning the genital area is the cleaning job after the toilet is finished. Cleaning should always be done from front to back, especially after a large toilet. While washing the genital area, it is necessary to avoid irritating products such as extremely hot water, soaps, shower gels, perfumes and colognes. When washing this area, warmer and colder water should be preferred, especially in the shower. Washing liquids, usually called intim, can be used, which are specially produced with a pH of 4 and lower, suitable for the acidic environment of this region. While washing, the inside of the vagina is never washed deeply, but rather superficially foamed and rinsed.
Is the fungus chronic ?
Vaginal fungus treatment is an easy treatment that does not take long, but if not treated properly, the fungus can turn into recurrent, i.e. chronic fungus. While applying the antifungal treatment arranged by the physician, it is necessary to take probiotic tablets as well. In addition, this area should be kept clean and should not be left damp. After the shower, especially overweight patients can dry their genital areas better with the cold temperature of the hair dryer. The treatment is usually applied with the spouse, and sexual intercourse should be avoided during the treatment. Some recurrent fungal diseases may have other underlying causes. In conditions that affect the body's immune system, such as cancer treatments, AIDS or diabetes, the fungus can be stubborn. In such cases, it is very important to reveal and treat the underlying causes.