Vaginitis Prevention, Symptoms And Treatment Options


Vaginal inflammation, or vulvitis, can cause discharge, itchiness, and discomfort. Typically, an infection or a shift in the ratio of vaginal bacteria is to blame. Vaginitis can also be brought on by some skin conditions and decreased estrogen levels during menopause.

The most typical varieties of vaginitis include:

Bacterial vaginosis. When the naturally present bacteria in your vagina overgrow and upset the delicate balance, this occurs.

Candida infections. These are typically brought on by Candida albicans, a fungus that occurs naturally.

Trichomoniasis. This is often spread through sexual contact and is caused by a parasite.

Your course of treatment depends on the type of vaginitis you have.


Depending on the type of vaginitis you have, the reason may be:

Bacterial vaginosis. The alteration in the vaginal flora that causes this most prevalent kind of vaginitis upsets the delicate equilibrium. The imbalance's origin is uncertain. Symptomless bacterial vaginosis is a possibility.

This sort of vaginitis can also affect women who are not sexually active, although it seems to be related to sex rather than being the cause, especially if you have several partners or a new relationship.

Candida infections. These take place when a fungus, often Candida albicans, overgrows in your vagina. Additionally, C. albicans may cause infections in your mouth (thrush), skin folds, and nail beds, which are all moist parts of your body. The mould also contributes to diaper rash.

Trichomoniasis. This common sexually transmitted disease is brought on by a tiny, one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This bacteria spreads when a person has sexual contact with someone who is infected.

The organism often affects the urinary system in men, however, it frequently has no symptoms. Trichomonas generally affects the vagina in women and may result in symptoms. Additionally, it raises women's chance of contracting other STDs.

Infection-free vaginitis. It is also possible for some people to become irritated or experience an allergic response to sprays, douches, scented soaps, scented detergents, and spermicidal treatments used vaginally. Toilet paper or other foreign objects, such as tampons that were left in the vagina, can potentially irritate the vaginal tissues.

Menopausal genitourinary syndrome (vaginal atrophy). With menopause, decreased estrogen levels, or surgical removal of your ovaries can thin the vaginal lining, which can occasionally cause dryness, burning, and irritation in the vagina.

How to check if you have Vaginitis?

If you have discomfort in the vaginal area, especially if:

  • You experience irritation, discharge, or a very foul vaginal odour.
  • A vaginal infection has never affected you. Visiting your doctor can help you figure out the cause and develop your ability to recognise the symptoms.
  • You previously experienced vaginal infections.
  • You have had several sexual partners or a new one recently. A yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis might be sexually transmitted infections, some of which present with symptoms that are comparable to those of those conditions.
  • Your symptoms continue after taking a course of over-the-counter anti-yeast medication.
  • You feel cold, have a temperature, or have pelvic discomfort.

You most likely do not need to visit your doctor each time you get vaginal discomfort and release, especially if

  • The indications and symptoms that led to your earlier vaginal yeast infection diagnosis are still present now.
  • You are certain that you have a yeast infection since you are aware of its warning signs and symptoms.

Risk Factors

The following factors raise the likelihood of acquiring vaginitis:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those brought on by menopause, birth control medications, or pregnancy
  • Sexual behavior
  • A sexually transmitted disease
  • Drugs, such as antibiotics and steroid injections
  • Spermicides are used as a form of birth control
  • Unmanageable diabetes
  • Using hygiene items like vaginal spray, bubble bath, or vaginal deodorant
  • Putting on wet or constricting garments
  • Utilizing an IUD as a method of birth control


Signs and symptoms of vaginitis might include:

  • Changes in the consistency, flavor, or volume of your vaginal discharge
  • Itching or discomfort in the vagina
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Unpleasant urination
  • Light spotting or bleeding in the vagina

If you have vaginal discharge, the nature of the discharge may reveal the sort of vaginitis you are experiencing. Examples comprise:

Bacterial vaginosis. An unpleasant-smelling, grayish-white discharge might appear. The smell, which is frequently characterized as fishy, could be more noticeable after intercourse.

Candida infection. The primary symptom is itching, but you may also have a thick, cottage cheese-like discharge.

Trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis may present as a greenish-yellow, occasionally frothy discharge.


Some symptoms of vaginitis may be alleviated and some may be prevented from returning via good hygiene:

  • Avoid using hot tubs, whirlpools, and baths.
  • Prevent irritants. There are scented tampons, pads, douches, and soaps among them. After taking a shower, thoroughly rinse the soap from your outer genital area and dry it off to avoid inflammation. Avoid using harsh soaps, bubble baths, or soaps that have deodorant or antibacterial properties.
  • Wipe the toilet seat from front to back after using the restroom. By doing this, fecal microorganisms are not transferred to your vagina.

Other measures to guard against vaginitis include:

Other than taking a daily shower, your vagina does not require cleaning. Douching repeatedly damages the beneficial flora in the vagina and raises your risk of vaginal infection.

Sex should be safer. Limiting the number of sex partners and using a condom can be helpful.

Put on cotton underclothes. Additionally, put on cotton-crotched pantyhose. Think about avoiding wearing underpants to bed. Yeast prefers wet places to grow.


Vaginitis can be brought on by a number of pathogens and ailments, thus therapy focuses on the exact cause:

Bacterial vaginosis. For this type of vaginitis, your doctor may suggest metronidazole tablets (Flagyl) to be taken orally or metronidazole gel (MetroGel) to be used topically. Clindamycin (Cleocin) cream applied to the vagina, clindamycin tablets taken orally, or clindamycin capsules inserted into the vagina are some more treatments. Tinidazole (Tindamax) or secnidazole (Solosec) are given orally.

After therapy, bacterial vaginosis may return.

Candida infections. An over-the-counter antifungal cream or suppository, such as miconazole (Monistat 1), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex, Trivagizole 3), butoconazole (Gynazole-1), or tioconazole, is often used to treat yeast infections (Vagistat-1). An additional option for treating yeast infections is prescription fluconazole, an oral antifungal medication (Diflucan).

The benefits of over-the-counter medication include affordability, convenience, and the absence of a waiting period for medical attention. You could, however, have a condition other than a yeast infection. Choosing the incorrect medication might delay getting the right diagnosis and treatment.

Trichomoniasis. Tinidazole (Tindamax) or metronidazole (Flagyl) pills may be recommended by your doctor.

Menopausal genitourinary syndrome (vaginal atrophy). This disorder can be treated with oestrogen in the form of vaginal creams, pills, or rings. After examining other risk factors and potential problems, your healthcare professional can prescribe this medication.

Infection-free vaginitis. You must identify the source of the discomfort and prevent it in order to treat this kind of vaginitis. New soap, for example, might be a source. 

Complications of Vaginitis

Due to the irritation these conditions create, women who have trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis are more likely to get STIs.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 21, 2023

Next review due: Mar 21, 2025

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