Most vaginal infections present similar symptoms, requiring a study to correctly establish a diagnosis.
In this sense, vaginitis is an infection that can be of an infectious nature or not, and is characterized mainly by presenting inflammation in it.
In the following article we will delve into what vaginitis or also known as vaginosis is, the causes of its appearance, symptoms, classification and how to prevent it.
What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis is in general terms an inflammation of the vaginal walls. It is quite common, even in childhood and adolescents, creating a 90% probability of being affected at some point in life.
To highlight: It does not usually have a specific and isolated reason for its appearance defined, but it is easy to identify it in the slightest changes in vaginal discharge , in which a slight thick discharge may occur. That is to say, under normal conditions it is white, heterogeneous and odorless… otherwise, there is probably some unidentified vaginitis.
Causes of vaginitis
Vaginitis can be caused by different reasons , which include the severity and intensity of it. They will be mentioned and described below for their identification and understanding.
unprotected intimate relationships
Vaginitis is not transmitted through sex, but it is caused by the presence of other infections of this nature or directly by sexually transmitted diseases.
There is also the possible reaction of the body to the composition of the semen , so having unprotected intimate relations and having direct contact with the man’s ejaculate could interfere with the normal balance of the vagina and provide infection.
A decrease in estrogen values , which are known as female hormones, produces an alteration in the vaginal flora and allows the development of infections.
Note: The functionality of hormones is to maintain an adequate and favored ecosystem that prevents the growth of microorganisms through its pH.
infections and allergies
Sensitivity to certain products is a trigger for the appearance of infectious vaginitis due to a change in the vaginal flora. The products that can cause this situation are:
- fabric softeners
The alteration produces an imbalance in the ecosystem of “good” and “bad” bacteria , even an excessive production of some of them and therefore the triggering of a vaginal infection.
Having sexual relations with insufficient lubrication, the presence of foreign bodies in general terms (from sex toys to tampons), masturbation maneuvers, lead to the production of inflammatory infections such as vaginitis.
symptoms of vaginitis
Vaginitis presents symptoms that are quite characteristic of a vaginal infection, adding to the inflammation it presents and the influence it has on altering flow. They will be mentioned and described below.
Itching, burning and pain
Vaginitis is often painful in the same area where it itches and burns: the vagina . The sensation of pain is usually greater when urinating or having sexual intercourse.
Important: The irritation and inflammation present in the vaginal area is what makes vaginitis one of the most uncomfortable infections , although it is also considered one of the most common and easy to treat.
Not only is there an increase in the amount of discharge that it secretes , but its characteristics are also modified depending on the nature of the infection, although in general terms the following aspects are affected:
It usually occurs after having sexual intercourse , due to the irritation present and the existing friction. Many times it is also a consequence of other diseases or sexually transmitted infections that are complemented by vaginitis, such as the human papilloma virus (HPV) or herpes.
Note: Bleeding is more prone when vaginitis is caused by the organism neisseria gonorrhoeae , also known as gonococcus.
Types of vaginitis
Vaginitis is classified depending on the nature of the infection , which will be mentioned and described below to allow its knowledge and identification.
Bacterial vaginosis is the one that is produced by an excessive growth of bacteria that are usually found in the vaginal flora, motivated by an imbalance and that usually has a strong and rather characteristic and unpleasant odor.
There are studies that support the increased risk in women who use an intrauterine device to contract bacterial vaginitis-type infections.
Important: The imbalance occurs due to an increase in the production of malignant bacteria, which leads to infection and the appearance of gardnerella vaginalis.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease , which is usually produced by a specific protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis. It is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and in men it is asymptomatic.
This type of vaginitis is characterized by pain during urination and strong and unpleasant odors in the genital area. It is treated with oral antibiotics.
Vaginitis caused by Candida albicans is very common to have infection and bacterial colonization in the rectal area. It produces inflammation, exudation and the production of fissures , although it is important to mention that it does not affect the pH of the vulva.
Note: There are two types of candidiasis vaginitis, complicated and uncomplicated . Both derive in severity and treatments.
Treatment for vaginitis
Vaginitis is attacked with certain treatments , which allow the reduction of the main symptoms and the eradication of the infection. These treatments will be mentioned below.
The use of antibiotics is, as previously mentioned, for candidiasis vaginitis, since it is produced by a protozoan and is complemented by the application of creams, vaginal suppositories and suppositories.
Note: Treatments, due to the nature of the infection, are usually somewhat aggressive and last for a maximum period of 72 hours.
Vaginal creams and suppositories
The application of topical antibiotics , are for direct contact with the affected area and the use of vaginal suppositories that are recommended before bedtime for a period of approximately seven continuous days.
Note: These treatments are usually aimed at bacterial vaginitis and metronidazole 0.75% is usually prescribed.
In the event that vaginitis is caused by a decrease in hormonal production, estrogen creams are prescribed to reduce the symptoms presented . Failure to produce this hormone can also lead to vaginal atrophy, which means dryness and inflammation.
Note: This type of vaginitis occurs more frequently in the menopausal stage.
How to prevent vaginitis?
It is quite important to highlight in this article that there are certain resources that can be applied to reduce the risk of having an infection such as vaginitis. They will be mentioned and described below so that they are taken into account.
Maintain proper genital hygiene
Maintaining poor hygiene practices increases the risk of having an infection in the vagina. Above all, if you do not take care to stay dry and with appropriate clothing that does not cause uncomfortable friction.
Avoid douching and intimate deodorants
Vaginal douches and deodorants alter the vaginal ecosystem, flora and pH, thus increasing the chances of affecting the genitals to the level of producing an environment suitable for infections.
Using condoms will greatly reduce the risk of contracting infections from our partners or even sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which in the long term can affect and develop secondary infections such as vaginitis.
Wear cotton underwear
The right, comfortable underwear that is always dry and sanitized is the key to keeping our vaginal flora in balance.
Note: Use cotton underwear to show the changes in our vaginal discharge, and thus notice and treat any infection or alteration that we may have in time.
Avoid bathtubs, jacuzzis and swimming pools
It happens that swimming pools can be a mode of contagion, in addition to keeping the wet swimsuit for a long time.
To highlight: A pool, bathtub or jacuzzi that is poorly sanitized or with excess chlorine will have the correct elements to increase the risk of a vaginal infection.
Avoid irritating products and items
The allergic reaction to certain products, which then cause irritation in the genital area, can cause a chain reaction that leads to an alteration of the vagina and allows the vulnerability to contract infections.
- Vaginitis is an infection in the female genital area characterized by being inflammatory and presenting unpleasant odors.
- It can be produced by a hormonal alteration in the reduction of estrogen , which alters the bacterial flora of the vagina and increases the risk of contracting infections of all kinds.
- It is one of the most common and easiest to treat infections in the world. In fact, 90% of women around the world suffer from vaginitis at some point in their lives.
- It is necessary to avoid wearing wet underwear or keeping a wet bathing suit for a long time to reduce the risk of infection.
- The alteration of the vaginal flora and the pH will promote the production of infections due to the imbalance of the ecosystem of the vulva.
University Professional in the area of Human Resources, Postgraduate in Occupational Health and Hygiene of the Work Environment, 14 years of experience in the area of health. Interested in topics of Psychology, Occupational Health, and General Medicine.