Inflammation of the vagina is called vaginitis, which is most common during a woman’s’ reproductive years. Although not as common, it does affect women of all ages.
Vaginitis is typically the result of changes in the balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina which causes inflammation of the vaginal lining.
There are many factors that change the balance of the vagina such as:
If vaginal discharge, unusual vaginal odor, itching or burning sensations are experienced, an appointment with your Rosemark gynecologist is necessary. The gynecologist will take a sample of the vaginal discharge for testing and diagnosis.
Women who are diagnosed with a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomonas, or atrophic vaginitis will be given a prescription to treat the problem. The prescription may be a pill, gel or cream to be applied vaginally.
Candidiasis, also known as a yeast infection, is one of the most common types of vaginal infection. Candida is a fungus that is naturally found in the vagina, but if the balance of bacteria and yeast become imbalanced, the yeast may grow and cause symptoms.
A women that is pregnant, has diabetes, or has been on antibiotics, has a higher risk of a yeast infection. Antibiotics kill the normal bacteria in the vagina, then yeast can overgrow.
Symptoms of a yeast infection are itching and burning of the vulva. The vulva may also be red and swollen. Over-the-counter medications for yeast infections are safe and usually effective in treating the condition. However, if a medication for yeast is used and the condition is different, the medication will not work and may cause an increase in the actual problem.
If you are having symptoms of a yeast infection, and over-the-counter medications do not work, make an appointment with your Rosemark provider.
Overgrowth of normal occurring bacteria in the vagina is called bacterial vaginosis. The most prominent symptom is discharge with a strong fishy odor. The discharge can be thin and dark. The discharge may also reflect a dull gray or greenish color and itching may occur if there is a lot of discharge.
A sample of the discharge will be taken and a lab test will be run for diagnosis. If bacterial vaginosis is diagnosed, your provider may prescribe a pill, vaginal gel or cream. If metronidazole (Flagyl) is prescribed alcohol consumption is prohibited because it causes nausea and vomiting. There are no over-the –counter treatments for bacterial vaginosis.
Trichomonas vaginalis is caused by a sexually transmitted microscopic parasite. Symptoms may include a green or yellow-gray discharge with a fishy odor. Other symptoms may include:
Treatment is a single dose of metronidazole (Flagyl), which is in a pill form. The sexual partner must also be treated to prevent a recurrence of this disease. Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after taking the medication because it causes nausea and vomiting.
Atrophic vaginitis is not caused by an infection. This vaginal condition that may occur if a woman’s hormone levels are low. For example, hormone levels may decrease while breastfeeding or after menopause which can cause this infection.
Atrophic vaginitis can cause irritation, vaginal dryness, itching, burning and discharge. This condition often times is treated with an estrogen supplement including a vaginal cream, vaginal ring, or a pill.