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Vaginitis: 3 Common Infections

Did you know that vaginitis, an umbrella term referring to inflammation of the vagina, is extremely common, especially in women of child-bearing age? This uncomfortable condition results when there’s an imbalance of the yeast and bacteria that naturally occur in your vagina.  

Vaginitis is so common, it’s one of the top reasons women in America visit their medical providers each year. Jacquline Hayles-Patterson, MD and Tyndal M. Jones, MD, at Signature Women’s Healthcare in Lawrenceville and Lithonia, Georgia, help women struggling with vaginitis by diagnosing the underlying cause of the condition as part of our comprehensive gynecological services.  

Dr. Hayles-Patterson and Dr. Jones also know it’s important to understand the common infections that lead to vaginitis so you can stay healthy and inflammation-free. Read on to learn more! 

What 3 common infections cause vaginitis?

Vaginitis results when the normal vaginal flora (bacteria and yeast) are out of balance. While there are different conditions that can lead to vaginitis, about 90% of cases are caused by the three common infections explored below: 

1. Yeast infections

When you think about an inflammation of the vagina, your first thought is probably “yeast infection.” And with good cause! Most women experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime, and many women experience multiple yeast infections. 

Yeast infections result when candida, one of the species of fungus that naturally lives in the vagina, mouth, and digestive tract, overgrows because the bacteria that normally keep it in check are knocked out of balance. This can happen because of antibiotics, changes in hormones, immune system issues, and certain medical conditions, like diabetes. 

Symptoms of a yeast infection include:

2. Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) affects about 21 million American women, making it the most common vaginal infection for women ages 15-49. As with yeast infections, BV results due to an imbalance in the naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina. 

Having multiple sexual partners, a new sexual partner, not using condoms, and douching are among the top reasons women get BV. While BV is not a sexually transmitted infection, it’s rarely seen in women who are not sexually active. 

Symptoms of BV include:

3. Trichomoniasis

Commonly referred to as “trich,” trichomoniasis is the most common non-viral STC in America, affecting almost 4 million people each year. Unlike STDs, which are caused by viruses, trich is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomoniasis vaginalis, or TV.

During sexual intercourse, TV passes between partners. While both men and women can get trich, only women develop symptoms. This means men can pass trich unknowingly to female partners, and it can go undiagnosed until the woman develops symptoms. 

Symptoms of trichomoniasis include:

Are there treatments for vaginitis?

Treatments for vaginitis do exist, and your OB/GYN at Signature Women’s Healthcare is happy to create a customized treatment plan for you. Because vaginitis can be caused by different conditions, however, it’s essential to have the underlying cause diagnosed by a trained medical professional.

Seeing your OB/GYN is also important because the symptoms of the underlying causes of vaginitis can be similar. For example, many women confuse BV with a yeast infection. But treating BV with over-the-counter (OTC) yeast infection medications can actually make your symptoms worse. Other times, noninfectious causes, like new bath soap, can cause vaginitis.

Vaginitis treatments vary depending on the underlying cause of your condition. For vaginitis caused by hormonal changes, your provider may recommend hormonal treatments. And for noninfectious cases, simple lifestyle changes can resolve your vaginitis. 

For most women, however, treating vaginitis typically involves specific medications or vaginal treatments. Your OB/GYN may recommend:

If you’re concerned about vaginitis or need to seek treatment for this common condition, call the Signature Women’s Healthcare office nearest you or book an appointment online today!

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