What is vaginitis?

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Vaginitis refers to the inflammation of the vagina.  This medical condition often arises along with inflammation of the vulva or the external part of the vagina.  The inflammation of the vagina is typically secondary to infection from a variety of sources.

Symptoms of vaginitis include pain during urination, itching in the vulva or deeper parts of the vagina, and abnormal discharges.  Some patients with vaginitis also complain of pain and/or discomfort during sexual intercourse. Typical of inflammation, the vagina may also have some redness or swelling along with a foul odor.  One common cause of vaginitis is through bacterial infection.  The bacterium Gardnerella is responsible for causing inflammatory changes in the vulva which could spread to the deeper parts of the female reproductive organ.  There are also cases wherein the infection is caused by Candida albicans which is a type of yeast.  In this case, the inflammatory changes may be referred to as candidiasis.  Another form of vaginitis is caused by the trichomonas organism. This organism is can be transmitted sexually be either men or women.  Some cases of vaginitis may be secondary to infection from the herpes virus or parasite infestation.  There are also other diseases involving the female reproductive organ that can lead to inflammation of the vagina.

Treatment of vaginitis will depend upon the cause of the inflammation.  Antibacterial creams and topical antibiotics may be given to cases that are caused by bacteria.  Viral cases will also be treated with corresponding anti-viral creams. For vaginitis secondary to hormonal imbalance, estrogen creams may also be prescribed.  If the case is transmitted sexually, oral medication may also be prescribed.  If left untreated, vaginitis may lead to more serious complications.  Extreme caution is typically given to pregnant women because the infection may affect them and their pregnancy.  Serious cases can even lead to premature delivery and pelvic inflammatory disease.

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