Vaginitis is a term referring to microbial infection of inflammation of the vagina . Usually it’s not just vaginitis but also vulvo-vaginitis (inflammation of the vulva also) or it is accompanied by cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix).
75% of women will suffer from vaginitis at some point of their life and 40-50% of them, more than once. There is an outbreak during the summer months due to heat and humidity . Vaginitis is more frequent during pregnancy.
Many times Vaginitis has no symptoms and the diagnose is random with the pap-test or a pelvic exam. In other cases it changes the composition of the normal vaginal discharges.
It is important for women to recognize the symptoms and seek adequate treatment. Vaginitis symptoms, if present, include irritation and itchiness in the vagina and vulva, white thick discharge from the vagina, as well as redness and swelling of the vaginal walls, the vaginal fluids have abnormal color, texture and smell depending on what caused it.Sometimes there is a little blood in the vagina.
Vaginitis doesn’t always have clear causes. Manny times it is the result of an infection by pathogens like bacteria or fungi, which either come from the rectum and migrate to the vagina through the perineum or they find the opportunity to develop because of some disturbances in the normal flora of the vagina.
In many cases vaginitis appears when the pH equilibrium in the area is disturbed.
Many factors can contribute to this disturbance like pregnancy, menopause, the time before menstruation, medication such as antibiotics, stress, perfumed soap and tight clothing.
The vaginitis causes can be:
- Viruses. As the HPV virus and the genital herpes .
- Various microbes (e.g. klebsiella, e.coli).
- Bacteria (e.g. Gardnerella vaginalis).
- Fungi. They are the most common cause. 75% of women had once in their lifetime vaginitis caused by fungi.
- Trichomonas. Vaginitis is caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis.
- Chlamydia. They can cause side effects and complications but subside easily with use of antibiotics.
- Mycoplasm (ureaplasma, hominis). It is responsible for miscarriages.
- Atrophic vaginitis. It is observed in women with no female hormones (in menopause or before puberty).
For prevention you should comply with good hygiene rules but in a way that the normal flora of the vagina is not disturbed.
Avoid internal washes with antiseptics which can disturb the microbial balance of the vagina and favor the development of pathogens.
Daily cleaning of the area with a special product and lots of water is the right way for vaginal hygiene.
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