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Related topics about disorders of the vulva: lichen sclerosus uterine fibroids vaginal discharge vaginitis vulvodynia vulvar cysts

What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is a term used to describe disorders that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina. Vulvovaginitis refers to inflammation of both the vagina and vulva, the outer area of labial and skin surrounding the vagina. These conditions can result from an infection caused by organisms such as bacteria, yeast, or viruses, as well as by irritations from chemicals in creams, sprays, or even clothing that are in contact with this area. In some cases, vaginitis results from organisms that are passed between sexual partners.

Vaginitis is one of the most common medical problems affecting women. Most women will have at least one episode of vaginitis during their lives, and others will have recurring episodes. Usual symptoms are vaginal discharge and vaginal itching or burning. Sometimes women complain of burning on urination or dryness with intercourse. There are three major types of vaginitis. They are yeast vaginitis, non-specific or bacterial vaginitis and 'trich' or trichomoniasis. There are some less common forms which can also occur.

The term "yeast infection" is what most women think of when they hear the word vaginitis. However, a yeast infection is only one kind of vaginal infection. Vaginitis can be caused by several different organisms, sometimes at the same time, as well as by hormonal changes, allergies, or irritations. Vaginitis can also be caused by antibiotic use, diabetes, excessive alcohol, steroid use, a weakened immune system, abrasions of the vagina, or tight non-cotton underwear.

Vaginitis is responsible for an estimated 10% of all visits by women to their healthcare practitioners. The three general causes of vaginitis are hormonal imbalance, irritation, and infection. Hormone-related vaginitis includes the atrophic vaginitis generally found in postmenopausal or postpartum women and, occasionally, in young girls before puberty. Irritant vaginitis can result from allergies or irritating substances. Infectious vaginitis is most common in reproductive-age women and is generally caused by one of three types of infections: bacterial vaginosis (BV), candidiasis (yeast infection), or trichomoniasis. A healthcare professional should be consulted for the diagnosis and treatment of any vaginal infection.

More information on vaginitis

What is vaginitis? - Vulvovaginitis refers to inflammation of both the vagina and vulva, the outer area of labial and skin surrounding the vagina.
What are the symptoms of vaginitis? - The common symptoms of vaginitis are itching, burning, and vaginal discharge that is different from the normal secretions.
What are the most common types of vaginitis? - The most common types of vaginitis include candida or yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis vaginitis, chlamydia, gonococcal vaginitis, viral vaginitis, and noninfectious vaginitis.
What causes vaginitis? - Bacteria, yeast, viruses, or chemicals in creams or sprays, can cause vaginitis.
What is bacterial vaginosis? - Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is actually the most common type of vaginitis in females of reproductive age.
What is trichomoniasis? - Trichomonas, commonly called trick, is caused by a single-celled organism tht is a member of the protozoa family of microorganisms.
What is chlamydia? - Chlamydia, caused by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis, exists in a number of different strains.
What is viral vaginitis? - Viruses are a common cause of vaginitis, with most being spread through sexual contact.
What is noninfectious vaginitis? - Noninfectious vaginitis usually refers to vaginal irritation without an infection being present.
What are candida or yeast infections? - Yeast infections of the vagina are what most women think of when they hear the term vaginitis.
How is vaginitis diagnosed? - Vaginitis is easily diagnosed by your health care provider. A small amount of vaginal discharge will be evaluated.
What is the treatment to cure vaginitis? - Candida vaginitis can be treated with antifungal medications that are administered directly into the vagina as tablets, creams, ointments or suppositories.
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Topics in women's health

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
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Breast cancer
Cervical dysplasia
Pelvic inflammatory disease
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005