What Is Vaginitis?
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina with symptoms such as vaginal pain or discomfort, discharge, odor, and, itching. Some other symptoms are pain during urination and sexual intercourse. Vaginitis usually occurs in combination with vulvovaginitis, a condition that causes the inflammation of the vulva. Vaginitis can be the result of infections or non-infectious causes. It could also be due to fungus, bacteria, or Trichomonas, a parasitic organism. Your doctor may advise that you treat infectious vaginitis with antibiotics. Vaginitis can also be a consequence of physical or chemical irritation of the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common bacterial infection that causes vaginitis and it mainly results from an imbalance in the bacteria present in the vagina. There are speculations that sexual activity plays a role in the development of bacterial vaginosis, however, some medical practitioners believe that women who have not had sexual contact can suffer bacterial vaginosis. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are STDs that fall in the category of bacterial causes of vaginitis. Yeast infections, even though they are not STDs, may cause vaginitis. Candida infection is one of such yeast infections that cause vaginitis. For most sufferers, bacterial vaginosis, comes without symptoms, however, when there are symptoms, the common ones are:
- a foul odor
- pain with intercourse
- an abnormal amount of vaginal discharge
- thin and grayish-white discharge
Causes of Vaginitis
The infectious causes of vaginitis are bacteria, yeast, and Trichomonas. Trichomonas, commonly called “Trich” is a parasitic infection that gets transmitted through sexual contact. Non-infectious causes of vaginitis, on the other hand, are physical or chemical irritation from douches, soaps, fragrances, and spermicides. Poor hygiene health may also be a cause of vaginitis, owing to the spread of fecal bacteria from the anal area into the vagina.
The risk factors for vaginitis depend on the type of vaginitis that one suffers. Some of the known risk factors for bacterial vaginosis are having multiple sex partners, cigarette smoking, douching, and using IUDs for contraception.
Diagnosing and Treating Vaginitis
The symptoms that the sufferer experiences suggest the diagnosis and treatment. There`s usually a need for pelvic examination to get a sample of vaginal discharge and test for Trichomonas organisms, or other infectious organisms.
Treating vaginitis is also dependent on its cause. Antibiotics medications are great for treating infectious vaginitis, while bacterial vaginitis responds to oral antibiotics, intra-vaginal antibiotic creams, and injections. Patterns of resistance determine treatment guidelines and the need to update the antibiotics to circulate the bacterial strains.
Common antibiotics used in managing bacterial vaginosis are azithromycin (Zithromax) clindamycin (Cleocin), cefixime (Suprax), doxycycline (Doryx), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), erythromycin, and metronidazole (Flagyl). Antifungal medications are required to treat yeast infections. Antifungal preparations are available over-the-counter for yeast vaginitis. The common antifungal medications are terconazole (Terazol), clotrimazole (Gyne Lotrimin), fluconazole, miconazole (Monistat), butoconazole (Gynazole), and Nystatin. Metronidazole (Flagyl) is especially effective for treating Trichomonas infections.
Home remedies don`t cure vaginitis due to infections, however, sufferers can use home remedies to control unpleasant symptoms. Some common home remedies are allowing air to circulate around the vagina by wearing loose, cotton undergarments and clothing. They may also remove undergarments at night.
Hormonal therapy is effective for vaginitis due to thinning and irritation of the vaginal wall. This kind of vaginitis is usually as a result of lowered estrogen levels at menopause. Non-hormonal vaginal lubricant products can also be helpful.
To avoid long-term problems, sufferers are advised to treat vaginitis properly. Poor treatment may lead to vaginal infections that may spread to other pelvic organs, causing a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can be severe and result in impaired fertility. Sometimes, vaginitis reappears even after successful treatment and requires another course of treatment.
Preventing vaginitis due to STDs is possible. One of the ways to ensure prevention is by practicing safe sex or abstinence. Preventing all cases of yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis may be impossible, however, you can pay attention to hygiene practices, and avoid the spread of fecal material to the vagina.
Vagina Facts you Should Know
- A vaginal “fart,” also called a “vart” or “queef,” is gas expelled from the rectum; it contains fecal waste and has an odor.
- Vaginal flatulence is odorless and unrelated to the rectum, except a woman has a rare rectovaginal fistula.
- Every vagina has a unique smell. The smell depends on various factors such as diet, the combination of normal bacteria that live in the vagina, level of hygiene, types of fabric a woman wears, gland secretions, and how much a woman sweats.
- The first inch or two of the vagina has the most nerve endings and gives the most pleasure.
- The Story of Menstruation, a Disney-animated film, is the first movie to use the word “vagina” on film.
- The pH (acid/base balance) of the vagina is around 4, the same pH as tomatoes, wine, and beer.
- The most common factors that affect the pH of the vagina are douching, soap, vaginal infections, and exposure to semen.
- Anna Swann (1846-1888) had the largest vagina in history. She was 7 feet and 5 inches tall and weighed 350 pounds. She gave birth to a 23-pound baby with a 19-inch head.
- Approximately one in 7,000 female babies are born without a vagina. This condition is known as vaginal agenesis; it could be diagnosed at birth, or as late as puberty.
- The hymen is a stretchy collar of tissue and doesn`t have much to do with virginity. This means that you cannot tell if someone is a virgin or not by looking at their hymen.
- The hymen is inside the vaginal entrance and protected by the two layers of lips of the vulva: the labia major and the labia minora.
- It is normal for females not to bleed the first time they have sex.
- There are various factors that determine if females bleed or not during their first sex: the nature of the hymen is one of them. All hymens are stretchy, however, some are more stretchy than others.
- After puberty, the hymen becomes more stretchy.
- The penis and clitoris, are homologous, meaning they form from the same tissue in a developing embryo.
- Some researchers believe that pubic hair evolved as a way to trap pheromones or to become a type of sexual ornament.
- Hair around the vaginal area grows only for three weeks, however, the hair on the head can grow for up to seven years.
- Garlic is an effective remedy for a strong vagina odor, owing to its antibacterial properties that treating infections and kill harmful bacteria.
- Regular antibiotics intake can kill the good bacteria in your vagina and cause an imbalance that makes the vagina hospitable to fungus. Eating yogurt with live cultures in it may help restore that balance.
- Some women have yeast infections from drinking a lot of alcohol, sitting in a wet bathing suit or sweaty workout underwear, or eating a ton of sugar.
- Tea tree oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that combat vaginal odor caused by infections or hormonal imbalance.
- You can make a vagina wash with three or four drops of tea tree oil in water and use it to clean the vaginal area.
- The seeds of the rose plant with vitamin C tablets are highly effective at stopping vagina odor.