Anyone can quiet easily catch a cold. In the same way, any woman with a vagina can suffer from vaginitis. However, we generally don’t know that much about this kind of inflammation. Check out this article to learn more about vaginitis, its symptoms and how it should be treated.
At least One Third of all Women.
1. What is Vaginitis?
Vaginitis, or vulvovaginitis, is literally any infection, inflammation or irritation of the female genital region. The most common vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis, vaginal candidiasis and trichomoniasis. If your vulva is itchy, has unusual discharge, or a strong smell then you may suspect vaginitis. At least 30% of all women will have at least one form of vaginitis at some point in their lives.
2. Bacterial Vaginosis
Beneficial and harmful bacteria live in the vulva and vagina. The vagina maintains an acidity of about 4.5 pH to produce beneficial bacteria, protecting us from harmful bacteria. If at any time this balance is broken and the inside of the vagina becomes alkaline, the balance of the bacteria in the vagina can become unbalanced, causing bacterial vaginosis.
- Symptoms - Vaginal discharge smells fishy and is white or gray. - More vaginal discharge than usual. - There's some itching and pain during sex.
- Cause Frequent sexual intercourse and improper vaginal cleaning habits are the main causes. In particular, if you are washing inside your vagina, you should stop right away.
- Treatment - Antibiotic treatment can effectively treat the inflammation. - Alcohol and cigarettes that can cause inflammation should be avoided. - Because it is not transmitted by sex, your partner does not have to get treated too.
3. Vaginal Candidiasis
A fungus called Candida albicans can be the cause of your vaginal problems. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast, or fungus, found in the gastrointestinal tract. It does not cause problems when healthy, but when the immune system is weak it can proliferate and causes an inflammatory reaction.
- Symptoms - Thick, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge. - Itching and irritation on the vagina and a burning sensation during sexual intercourse or while urinating.
- Cause - It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, but it may be due to a weakened immune system, taking oral contraceptives, or using antibiotics. - It can be found in patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, pregnant women, or girls pre-puberty and menopausal women whose estrogen levels are unbalanced.
- Treatment - Candida is a fungus, so antifungal drugs are used. - It is also important to keep your genitals dry to prevent bacterial growth. - It is recommended to dry naturally after taking a shower and wear underwear with good ventilation as much as possible. - Candida is also not transmitted by sex and does not need to be tested with a partner.
Trichomoniasis is caused by an infection with trichomonas vaginalis, and is mostly transmitted by sex. Since the rate of re-infection is high, it is important to be treated together with any sexual partners.
- Symptoms - Vaginal discharge is yellow or grayish-white. - As it progresses further vaginal discharge may become green in color. - Discharge is thin and often foul smelling. - It is accompanied by a burning sensation, itching, and pain during sex and urination.
- Cause - Mostly transmitted during sexual intercourse. - In rare cases, infection can be caught through public baths or toilets. - Sexual partners are likely to suffer long-term infections by constantly exchanging the disease with each other.
- Treatment - It is treated with antibiotics. - Since it is a sexually transmitted infection, it is very important to be treated with any partners once the diagnosis is confirmed. - Sex is not possible until the treatment is completed. - Chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV tests are recommended because there is a possibility of co-infection. - If the infection period is prolonged or recurs several times, resistance will occur, so it must be cured completely and recurrence should be carefully avoided.
5. Preventing Vaginitis
⏰ Take Probiotics Consistent consumption of a probiotic like lactobacillus, which creates a healthy vaginal environment, can be helpful. But don’t forget that lactobacillus is a supplement, not a cure.
🚿 Wash properly Wash the vulva properly. The vagina is excellent at self-purification, so you don't have to use any specific “feminine hygiene products”. In particular, you should never be cleaning inside your vagina.
🌀 Keep your vulva dry A humid environment is perfect for germs and fungi to grow. After taking a shower, let your body dry naturally for at least 1 minute. Wear well-ventilating cotton underwear and avoid tight clothes.
- Anyone can get vaginitis, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.
- The three main types of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis, vaginal candidiasis and trichomoniasis.