Could You Be Experiencing Vaginitis?

Some women find it difficult to talk about the health of their vagina. It can feel like a taboo subject and may cause you to feel uncomfortable, but changes to your vaginal health shouldn't be ignored, as they can point to a serious underlying health condition. Vaginitis is a relatively common sexual health complaint, and when it's left untreated, it can cause some serious complications, including increasing your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection and increasing an affected pregnant woman's risk of going into early labour.

Vaginitis is characterised by inflammation of the vaginal tissue and often occurs due to an infection or change in the balance of good and bad bacteria found in the vagina. It can also be caused as a result of reduced oestrogen levels in menopausal and post-menopausal women, as lower levels of oestrogen can cause the lining of the vagina to thin, which makes it prone to irritation. Read on to learn about the symptoms of vaginitis and how the condition is treated.

Symptoms Of Vaginitis

A common symptom of vaginitis is abnormal vaginal discharge. You may develop a greyish or white discharge that's thick and foul-smelling, or you may develop a frothy discharge that has a yellow tinge. Aside from an abnormal discharge, vaginitis can cause you to experience vaginal swelling and itching, pain during sex and light bleeding between periods. Some women also experience pain when urinating.

Treating Vaginitis

Your doctor will diagnose vaginitis by carrying out a pelvic exam, which is very similar to having a pap smear. This will allow your doctor to see whether there are signs of inflammation in the soft tissues of your cervix, and they will also take a swab of the vaginal discharge for analysis. This can help determine why you have developed vaginitis and allow your doctor to prescribe an effective treatment.

Treatment for vaginitis can include oral antibiotics or antibiotics given as an intravaginal pessary. An antifungal may also be required, and if you have developed vaginitis due to low levels of oestrogen, you may be prescribed synthetic oestrogen in the form of a vaginal cream or intravaginal ring that slowly releases oestrogen over a period of time.

If you have developed a thick or foul-smelling discharge, or if you have any of the other symptoms of vaginitis, make an appointment with your local women's healthcare clinic or GP as soon as possible. Your doctor has seen it all before, so don't allow yourself to suffer unnecessarily.