Vaginal infections are often associated with
vaginitis, an inflammation of the vaginal wall characterized by swelling, irritation,
discharge and itchiness. The main causes of vaginitis are yeast infection
or candida, bacterial vaginosis, trichomonas and allergic dermatitis. Only trichomonas
can be sexually transmitted. In the case of candida vaginitis or bacterial
vaginosis, the causes can vary widely, including: antibiotics, hygiene products such as perfumed
soap or bubble bath, certain diseases such as diabetes, as well as sexual intercourse.
Basically, these infections result from variations in the vaginal flora.
The symptoms of vaginitis include irritation of external areas of the genitals, itchy or
tingling sensations, redness and sometimes broken skin on the vulva, and especially a
dense white discharge resembling cottage cheese. The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include
a greyish or yellowish discharge, but it’s mainly the fishy smell that characterizes
this infection. You might also experience cramps in your pelvic region, along with redness
and itching of the vulva and the vagina. The symptoms of trichomonas also include a
vaginal discharge, often greenish or yellowish, a change in the odour of the vaginal discharge,
as well as itching, sometimes intense, of the genitals. To diagnose vaginitis, a clinical examination is required, along with the patient’s detailed
medical history. A number of treatments exist for vaginitis
resulting from a yeast infection. Some of them are available without a prescription
at drugstores. These remedies range from vaginal cream to a single dose in pill form. However,
if symptoms persist or the over-the-counter treatment is not effective, we recommend that
you see a doctor to obtain a precise diagnosis and determine whether the infection is an
STI. Your partner does not necessarily need a treatment,
except in the case of trichomonas, or if the infection is persistent, or if he experiences
an irritation on his penis known as balanitis. Vaginitis is not dangerous on its own, although
the irritation that it causes can make you more vulnerable to STIs.
Vaginitis does not pose a risk for pregnancy, but as a precaution, we recommend that you
see a doctor to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment for pregnant women.
A few tips on preventing vaginitis: rinse your genitals each day with water, or
wash with a gentle pH neutral soap; avoid perfumes and strong soaps;
make sure to dry your genitals each time after urinating;
wash your genitals each time after sexual relations;
avoid vaginal douches. In the case of trichomonas, the rules for
preventing STIs are applicable, that is, use a condom each time you have sex with a new
partner. Treatments are available for recurrent vaginitis,
which means, when the infection occurs four or more times in a year. Your doctor can choose
the treatment that’s right for you.