Vaginitis (Vaginal Infections) is the infection or inflammation of your vagina. It is usually caused by yeast and bacteria imbalances found in the vaginal tract.

You may also smell something different as well as feeling uncomfortable. It is possible to get an infection from bacteria, yeast, or a virus. As the skin and tissues in the vagina are so delicate, chemicals found in soaps, sprays, and clothing could cause irritation.

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand what’s happening. Dr. Susumitha, the best Gynecologist in Hyderabad who works at Matrusri Hospital Hospital, says that the right treatment for vaginal infection can be suggested if you have to seek the help of an expert doctor. 

Types and Causes of Vaginitis

There are various conditions that can cause vaginal infections. Some of the most common are:

Bacterial vaginosis: This type of vaginal inflammation is caused by the overgrowth of certain bacteria found in the vagina. Normally, it gives off a strong-smelling fishy odour.

Candida or “yeast” infection: It is caused by fungus candida overgrowth in the vagina though it is found in very small amounts.

Chlamydia: It is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections (STI) in women of age between 18 and 35 particularly those who do sex with multiple partners.

Gonorrhoea: It is another common STI and frequently occurs with chlamydia.

Trichomoniasis: it is a type of infection that is caused by a parasite and spread by sex. You are also at an increased risk of getting other STIs.

Viral vaginitis: It is another type of vaginal inflammation caused by certain viruses that spread through sexual contacts like herpes simplex. virus (HSV) and human papillomavirus (HPV). It is painful when warts or sores appear on the genitals.

In some cases, the exact cause of vaginal infection is not known, then it is called nonspecific vulvovaginitis.

The symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are sometimes hard to spot. If you have multiple sexual partners, consult a doctor and get tested frequently, especially if you experience any uncomfortable symptoms.

You may suffer permanent reproductive organ damage if you do not get proper treatment for some of these conditions or it can lead to other health problems. You could spread them to your partner.

Even without an infection, you may experience itching, burning, and discharge (often called noninfectious vaginitis). This is often caused by an allergic reaction due to using certain products detergents, soaps, douches (vagina cleaner), spermicides, sprays for the vaginal area, fabric softeners etc.

Vaginitis Symptoms

The vaginal discharge a woman produces is generally clear or slightly cloudy. It’s also a way for the vagina to cleanse itself.

Neither does it have an unpleasant scent nor does it itch. The amount of discharge and how it looks and feels varies from one menstrual cycle to the other. It is normal.

But a strong odour from your discharge, along with burning or itching are the symptoms of a serious infection. During the daytime, the irritation is less prevalent, but it is more prevalent at night. Sexual activity can aggravate some symptoms.

Consult a doctor if:

  • The discharge from the vagina has a different colour, is thicker, or has a different smell.
  • You may experience itching, swelling, and the sensation of burning around your vagina.
  • You can feel it burning when you pee.
  • Sexual contact can be uncomfortable.

How are vaginal infections treated?

Depending on the cause of your vaginal infection, your doctor will provide different treatment options. For instance:

Infections caused by bacteria are best treated with metronidazole capsules and cream, or clindamycin cream or gel.

If the infection is caused by yeast, it is suggested to use antifungal creams or suppositories.

Metronidazole or tinidazole medications might be recommended for trichomoniasis (or “trich”) an STD caused by a protozoan parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis.

In case of vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) known as the dry vagina, estrogen creams or oral medications are recommended.

A doctor might recommend a different method of treatment if the infection is caused by irritants like soaps, vaginal sprays etc.

What is the best way to prevent vaginal infections?

It is not possible to prevent all vaginal infections. STIs can be prevented by using condoms during sex. Additionally, you’ll be less likely to contract them.

Some vaginal infections can also be prevented with proper vaginal hygiene.

Whenever possible, try wearing cotton underwear and pantyhose (tights) with a cotton crotch. As a result, you may be less likely to develop vaginal inflammation and irritation. Women who wear less breathable fabrics may develop inflammation and irritation, so avoid them.