Symptoms, prevention, treatment
Vaginitis is a vaginal infection that can occur in all women but affects more women of childbearing age. It is estimated that three out of ten women will experience an incident of vaginitis in their life.
Vaginitis is usually caused by a disorder of the normal vaginal flora. Causes of altered pH balance in the vagina may be factors such as antibiotic use, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, lactation or menopause, vaginal washings, spermicidal ointments or sexually transmitted infection. At 80% – 90%, the diagnosis can be made by clinical examination without obtaining a culture.
Treatment of vaginitis depends on its causes and may include taking oral medication or topical application of a vaginal ointment.
It is emphasized that choosing the patient the treatment by herself, without having previously diagnosed with the type of vaginitis, can lead to deterioration. If, for example, a woman suffers from fungal vaginitis and receives treatment for a bacterial infection, the infection will worsen.
Most common kinds of vaginitis
Fungal vaginitis is one of the most common types of vaginal infection. It is also referred to as candidiasis, as it is often due to the Candida Albicans fungus that can overgrow when the pH balance in the vagina is altered. Some antibiotics increase the chance of fungal vaginitis by neutralizing “good” vaginal bacteria and altering the normal vaginal flora. This leads to a proliferation of pathogenic fungi. Immune system disorders can have the same effect, and pregnant women and those with diabetes have an increased tendency to develop fungal vaginitis.
Typical symptoms of the infection are itching and burning sensation in the vulva area, which can be swollen and red. Some women with fungal vaginitis notice an increase or change in their vaginal fluid. In these cases, the vaginal fluid is usually white, with solid secretions and odorless.
Treatment of this type of inflammation is either through oral medication or through vaginal ointment. A sexual partner may need to be treated as well, but it is not always necessary.
Bacterial vaginitis accounts for over 50% of cases of vaginitis in sexually active women. It is caused by the reduction of protective microorganisms such as lactobacillus and the rapid proliferation of microbes that, under normal conditions, already exist in the vagina, but in small numbers. The main symptom of infection is increased secretion with green or gray hue and unpleasant odor. The infection is treated with antibiotics either locally or orally.