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Vaginitis is infection or inflammation of the vagina. It can cause itching and burning, a change in vaginal discharge, and sometimes pain during sex.
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:
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.
Symptoms of vaginitis may include:
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.
If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor if you have any symptoms. Some problems can affect your pregnancy, so it is important to talk with your doctor and get the right treatment.
Other Works ConsultedEckert LO, Lentz GM (2012). Infections of the lower and upper genital tracts: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndromes, endometriosis, and salpingitis. In GM Lentz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 6th ed., pp. 519–559. Philadelphia: Mosby.Soper DE (2012). Genitourinary infections and sexually transmitted diseases. In JS Berek, ed., Berek and Novak's Gynecology, 15th ed., pp. 557–573. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Current as of: March 12, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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