What causes vaginal inflammation or vaginitis? The vagina of a healthy woman has a certain amount of acidity or pH. Normal vaginal pH is 3.8-4.2. Bad bacteria, viruses and yeast don’t usually grow in this pH. However, any time there is a change in the normal vaginal pH, a woman may get an overgrowth of bad bacteria, viruses and yeast. All age groups and races are affected. The highest incidence of vaginal inflammation or vaginitis is seen among young, sexually active women. Some of the factors that change the vaginal acidity include:
- Recent use of Antibiotics
- Taking Birth control pills
- Chemical irritation (e.g. Swimming, Laundry detergent)
- Feminine hygiene products (Especially if scented)
- IUD (Intrauterine device)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Sexual intercourse
- Vaginal medications
- Vaginal dryness*
*One of the most important causes of inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis) in menopausal women is Atrophic Vaginitis. This is an inflammation of the vagina due low estrogen level. Symptoms of Atrophic Vaginitis include painful intercourse, dryness, itching and abnormal bleeding. You can learn more about natural treatment options for vaginal dryness at Bring On The Magic llc.
It is very important to find out what is causing your vaginitis since treatment of vaginitis depends on the cause of it. The most common causes of vaginitis in women who have symptoms are bacterial vaginosis (40-45%), yeast infection (20-25%), and trichomoniasis (15-20%) which is a sexually transmitted disease; Up to 72% of women with vaginitis may remain undiagnosed. All women who have abnormal vaginal discharge should have a pelvic examination by their doctor. Sometimes samples of the discharge are sent to the lab to help make a diagnosis and proper treatment. When seeing a healthcare professional, be ready to answer question about the Quantity, Duration, Color, Consistency and Odor of your discharge.
Your Doctor may also ask you about the following:
- Previous similar episodes
- Sexually transmitted infection
- Sexual activities
- Birth control method
- Last menstrual period
- How often do you douche
- Use of personal hygiene products
- Antibiotic use
- General medical history
- Other general symptoms (eg, lower abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting)
Once diagnosed, most cases of vaginitis can be cured relatively easily. Recurrent vaginal infections can cause chronic irritation and scarring. These, in turn, can lead to emotional stress and sexual dysfunction. That is why you should seek expert help if your vaginitis keeps coming back.