Q:

What is vaginitis?

A:

Quick Answer

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that causes itching, pain and discharge, explains Mayo Clinic. An infection, changes in the vaginal bacteria balance and reduced estrogen levels are typical causes of vaginitis.

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Full Answer

Bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, trichomoniasis and vaginal atrophy are the most common types of vaginitis, states Mayo Clinic. Vaginitis symptoms include painful urination, vaginal itching, increased vaginal discharge, pain during intercourse and spotting. Bacterial vaginosis has a grayish-white discharge; yeast infections cause a thick, white discharge; and trichomoniasis can cause a frothy, greenish-yellow discharge. Vaginal infections typically do not cause serious complications, but trichomoniasis and symptomatic bacterial vaginosis are connected to premature and low birth weight babies. Certain vaginal infections also put women at a greater risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.

Metronidazole or clindamycin treat bacterial vaginosis, and an antifungal suppository, cream or oral pill treats yeast infections, according to Mayo Clinic. Metronidazole treats trichomoniasis, and estrogen in the form of rings, tablets or creams treats vaginal atrophy. Noninfectious vaginitis is treated by simply determining the cause of irritation and removing it. Practices such as wiping from front to back after using the toilet, wearing cotton underwear to reduce vaginal moisture, using a latex condom to block infections and abstaining from douching prevent vaginitis.

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