Vaginitis is a term used to describe several different types of vaginal irritation. When your vagina or vulva become inflamed or irritated, you experience symptoms like itching, burning, and discharge.
One of the most common reasons women schedule a visit with Dr. Marsha Bornt at Apple Hill Gynecology is because they have some form of vaginitis. Nearly everyone who has a vagina has vaginitis at some point or other.
The following are some of the most common types of vaginitis:
Vaginitis happens when the chemical balance in your vagina is somehow disrupted. For example, yeast infections occur when there’s an overgrowth of a fungal organism.
When you have vaginitis, you should avoid baths and hot tubs, as well as anything that could increase irritation like douching. Avoid spreading fecal material by wiping from front to back.
Although vaginitis is treatable, it isn’t fun—especially if you have recurrent vaginitis. Following are four things to consider that may help limit how often you get vaginitis.
Bacterial vaginosis may cause a discharge with a fishy odor, leading some women to think that they’re unclean. A common problem is to douche in an effort to improve hygiene. In fact, douching can actually make the problem worse.
Similarly, using scented products like toilet paper or tampons can cause vaginitis. Avoiding these products is advisable. Even scented laundry detergent can be problematic.
Most types of vaginitis aren’t sexually transmitted infections—although sex can cause vaginitis—but trichomoniasis is a microscopic parasite that is sexually transmitted. Limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using a condom can help prevent vaginitis.
After menopause, your body produces less estrogen, which can cause the walls of your vagina to become thinner and more vulnerable to irritation. Hormone therapy may be an option.
When you begin taking hormonal birth control, you have vaginitis because the amount of estrogen and progesterone in your body has changed.
Yeast thrives in damp environments, such as a wet bathing suit. Make sure you change when you’re finished swimming.
Synthetic materials don’t breathe well, which can also cause dampness from sweat. Wear cotton underwear, and consider sleeping without underwear.
The itching, burning, and discharge that usually accompanies vaginitis is extremely uncomfortable and can make you more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment at Apple Hill Gynecology.