General Illness Information
Medical Term: Vaginitis
Common Name: Vaginal inflammation
Description: Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vaginal mucosa caused by the activity of pathogenic microorganisms.
The most common types of vaginitis:
- Bacterial vaginitis, as a result of the excessively rapid growth of one of several organisms present in the vagina;
- Fungal infections, which are usually caused by a Candida albicans fungus;
- Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and is usually sexually transmitted;
- Viral vaginitis;
- Atrophy of the vagina (atrophic vaginitis) is the result of a decrease in the level of estrogen after menopause.
The vagina is reliably protected from the influence of pathogenic agents. However, the disease affects a large number of women every year due to some provoking factors of vaginitis:
- trauma to the perineum after childbirth and surgery;
- pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, ovarian hypofunction, climax – any conditions associated with a decrease in the concentration of estrogen in the blood;
- severe illnesses, infections, severe stress, psychoemotional shock – all these factors lead to a significant decrease in the woman’s immune protection;
- non-observance of rules of personal hygiene – pathogenic bacteria intensively multiply in secretions, menstrual blood and can cause inflammation in the vagina;
- metabolic disorders (diabetes mellitus) – leads to excessive deposition of carbohydrates in the mucosa, itching of the perineum, worsening of healing processes;
- not using a condom in casual sex often ends with vaginitis caused by pathogens of sexually transmitted diseases.
Signs & Symptoms:
- abundant discharge from the vagina with an unpleasant odor (purulent, curdled, frothy, milky, bloody) or lack of secretions and dryness of the vagina (senile vaginitis);
- redness of genital organs, edema formation;
- pain during sexual intercourse;
- frequent urination;
- feeling of burning and itching in the genital area;
- aching pain in the lower abdomen;
Depending on the degree of the disease and its type, the symptoms may differ.
Diagnosis of vaginitis is the task of a gynecologist. He establishes the diagnosis, based on the patient’s complaints, her history and the results of the examinations.
The doctor takes a swab, which is then examined in a laboratory under a microscope. Grown up in 3-5 days colony of bacteria allow to precisely define the pathogen and its sensitivity to antibiotics. To diagnose sexual infections, the vaginal discharge is examined by PCR. It allows to detect in the sample the genetic material of the pathogen and accurately establish its type.
- Treatment with drugs aimed at suppressing a specific bacterial infection, usually in the form of topical application;
- Increase local immunity and restore the normal pH of the vagina, which allows you to create conditions for the restoration of healthy microflora. For example, for these purposes, vaginal tablets containing ascorbic acid are used. They normalize the environment in the vagina, preventing the growth of opportunistic microflora;
- If necessary, general or local hormone therapy is prescribed.
Complications of vaginitis is possible with incorrect or untimely treatment of the disease. Vaginitis can cause such complications as:
- cervical erosion;
- upper genital tract inflammation;
- vaginal wall hypoxia (typical for elderly women);
Also, the acute form of vaginitis can develop into a chronic one, which often gives relapses and is difficult to treat.
To prevent vaginitis, follow the recommendations:
- avoid frequent changes in sexual partners;
- use a condom;
- conducts hygienic procedures of the genitals 2 times a day;
- wear comfortable underwear made of natural fabrics;
- do not use daily pads;
- use non-flavored hygiene products during menstruation;
- if possible, try to prevent inflammatory processes in the small pelvis;
- do not perform douching without doctor’s advice, as this can cause dysbacteriosis;
- control body weight.
Vaginitis is a hazard only for pregnant women. In this case, the infection can penetrate through the membranes and infect the baby. A timely and adequate treatment is needed to prevent negative consequences.