Vaginitis may be caused by
bacteria, yeast, or other organisms. Bath products, douches, and spermicides
also can irritate the
vagina and cause itching and discomfort.
The three most common types of vaginitis and their causes are:
Yeast infection. A
healthy vagina normally contains a small number of yeast cells, along with a
certain number of bacteria. Normally there aren't enough of the yeast cells to
cause problems. But sometimes something happens to the vagina that lets the
yeast cells multiply quickly and take over, causing symptoms. Taking
antibiotics sometimes causes this. Being pregnant,
taking birth control pills that contain estrogen, or having
hormone therapy can also cause it. So can
some health problems, like
Bacterial vaginosis. This happens when some
of the bacteria normally found in the vagina are able to multiply quickly, causing symptoms. Experts are not sure what causes this. But certain
things make it more likely to happen. These include having more than one sex
partner, having a female sex partner, having a
sexually transmitted infection, using an IUD for birth
control, and douching.
is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a
parasite. You get it by having sex with someone who
has it. It is commonly called trich (say "trick").
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. Surgery to remove the ovaries can have the same effect.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of vaginitis may
A change in your normal vaginal discharge,
including gray, green, or yellow discharge.
swelling, itching, or pain.
Pain or bleeding when you have sex.
How is vaginitis diagnosed?
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