What You Need to Know About Vaginitis

Vaginitis, or the inflammation or infection of the vulva and vagina, is a very common gynecological condition. In fact, as many as 1 in 3 women will have symptoms of vaginitis at some point in their life. Health Care Providers at Northern Colorado Women’s Wellness are here to answer all your questions and help you manage your symptoms. Here are some common questions we get asked about vaginitis.

What Are the Symptoms?

While the symptoms are different for everyone, there are some that are more common than others. These symptoms can include:

  • Irritation and itching of the genital area
  • Inflammation (irritation, redness, and swelling)
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odor
  • Discomfort while urinating

What Are the Causes of Vaginitis?

Vaginitis happens when there is a change in the normal balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. This imbalance is what causes the lining of the vagina to become inflamed and irritated. Some of the things that can cause a change in the normal balance include:

  • Infections from bacteria, yeasts, viruses, and other parasites
  • Changes in hormone levels, like during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause
  • Allergens such as the chemicals found in bubble baths, soaps, vaginal contraceptives, and feminine sprays
  • Using a spermicide
  • Douching
  • Using antibiotics
  • Sexual intercourse

How is it Diagnosed?

To diagnose you with vaginitis, your health care provider will take a sample of your vaginal discharge, and look at it under a microscope and sometimes the sample is sent to the laboratory for confirmation.

Who Gets Vaginitis?

While it affects women of all ages, vaginitis most often happens to women in their reproductive years.

What Are the Treatment Options?

The type of treatment that your health care provider suggests will depend on what is causing your infection. This is something that will be discussed to find the right option for you. Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungal cream
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Steroid cream
  • Antihistamine, if the irritation is due to an allergic reaction
  • Estrogen cream, if the irritation is due to low levels of estrogen

Can I Avoid Getting Vaginitis?

If you’ve had vaginitis before, or want to avoid it, there are some steps you can take to lower your risk. These include:

  • Wearing all-white, all-cotton underwear
  • Avoiding tight-fitting clothing
  • Changing out of wet clothing ASAP
  • Wiping from front to back after a bowel movement
  • Using tampons only for your period
  • Avoiding soap, douching, perfumed feminine products, and colored toilet paper
  • Using condoms during treatment for vaginitis

You can also try sitz baths or domeboro soaks. For a domeboro soak with 1:40 solution:

  • Soak gauze or washcloth with the solution
  • Place it against the vulva and soak for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per day
  • Rinse with clear water and dry with a hairdryer
  • Apply cream if one has been prescribed

How We Can Help

Our health care providers are very experienced with gynecological conditions like vaginitis. And we want to help you understand your symptoms, diagnosis, and the treatment options that are right for you. If you think you might be having symptoms of vaginitis, please contact us for an appointment.