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Vaginitis is infection or inflammation of the vagina. It may be caused by bacteria, yeast, or other germs. Treatment depends on the cause of vaginitis.

For more information on symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention see the Overview section.

Information for Health Professionals

Vaginitis is infection or inflammation of the vagina. It can cause itching and burning, a change in vaginal discharge, and sometimes pain during sex.

  • A change in your normal vaginal discharge, including grey, green, or yellow discharge.
  • Vaginal redness, swelling, itching, or pain.
  • Vaginal odour.
  • Burning when you urinate.
  • Pain or bleeding when you have sex.

Vaginitis may be caused by bacteria, yeast, or other germs.

The three most common causes of vaginitis are:

  • Yeast infection (caused by the excess growth of yeast in the vagina).
  • Bacterial vaginosis (caused by the excess growth of bacteria in the vagina).
  • Trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection caused by a protozoan).

Another type of vaginitis is atrophic vaginitis. This is an irritation of the vagina caused by thinning tissues and less moisture in the vaginal walls. This often occurs with menopause as a result of the decrease in the hormone estrogen.

Other causes of vaginitis may include:

  • scented panty liners, spermicide, soaps, and other perfumed products
  • douching
  • allergens including topical antifungal agents, semen, and latex

Your doctor will check your vagina for redness and swelling and will take a sample of vaginal discharge. The sample can be tested in a lab to see what is causing the problem.

It is important to talk with your doctor and get the right treatment. 

  • Yeast infection: If you have had a yeast infection before and can recognize the symptoms, and you aren't pregnant, you can treat yourself at home with medicines you can buy without a prescription.
  • Bacterial vaginosis: Antibiotics are prescribed to treat BV.
  • Trichomoniasis: This disease is also treated with antibiotics. Both you and your sex partner need treatment.
  •  Atrophic vaginitis: This usually is treated with estrogen creams or tablets.

There are several ways in which you can help to prevent vaginitis, including:

  • Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics.
  • Avoid douching.
  • Avoid using feminine deodorant sprays or other perfumed products in or around your vagina.
  • During your period, change tampons at least 3 times a day or switch between tampons and pads. Don't leave tampons in for more than 8 hours.
  • Use a condom during sex.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.

SOURCE: Vaginitis ( )
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