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Vaginitis is infection or
inflammation of the
vagina. It can cause itching and burning, a change in
vaginal discharge, and sometimes pain during sex.
Vaginitis may be caused by
bacteria, yeast, or other organisms. Bath products, douches, and spermicides
also can irritate the
vagina and cause itching and discomfort.
The three most common types of vaginitis and their causes are:
Another type of vaginitis is atrophic vaginitis. This is
an irritation of the vagina caused by thinning tissues and less moisture in the
vaginal walls. This often occurs with menopause as a result of the decrease in
the hormone estrogen. Surgery to remove the ovaries can have the same effect.
Symptoms of vaginitis may
Your doctor will check
your vagina for redness and swelling and will take a sample of vaginal
discharge. The sample can be tested in a lab to see what is causing the
If you are pregnant, talk with
your doctor if you have any symptoms. Some problems can affect your pregnancy,
so it is important to talk with your doctor and get the right treatment.
Other Works Consulted
Eckert LO, Lentz GM (2012). Infections of the lower and upper genital tracts: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndromes, endometriosis, and salpingitis. In GM Lentz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 6th ed., pp. 519–559. Philadelphia: Mosby.
Soper DE (2012). Genitourinary infections and sexually transmitted diseases. In JS Berek, ed., Berek and Novak's Gynecology, 15th ed., pp. 557–573. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
August 18, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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