If you have vaginal itching, pain or vaginal discharge, you may have a condition called vaginitis. At Genesis Women’s Health Services here in the Victorville or Apple Valley area, our goal is to help you stay healthy and to know what to watch for. Basic information about vaginitis can help you decide when to call us for care or advice.
Vaginitis usually results from inflammation or infection, although it can also occur in menopause because of low estrogen levels. Typical symptoms include a change in the color, odor or amount of vaginal secretions. You may have itching or other signs of vaginal irritation, and pain during intercourse. Painful urination can also be a sign of vaginitis, as can slight bleeding or spotting outside of the normal menstrual cycle.
What Causes Vaginitis?
Vaginitis is usually the result of an infection, allergic reaction or menopausal changes. Bacterial infections can cause a grayish-white, foul-smelling discharge. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, can cause a frothy greenish-yellow discharge. A yeast infection usually causes itching, and you may have a thick white discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Low estrogen during menopause can cause burning and itching. Vaginal douches, sprays, soaps, and spermicides can cause allergic reactions that include redness and itching.
Prevention is Best
You can help keep yourself healthy. First and most important, always use latex condoms during sex, even if you also use another form of birth control. Condoms help protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Don’t douche; you don’t need cleaning of the vaginal area other than a regular shower or bath. Douching can disrupt the normal vaginal conditions and increase the risk of vaginitis. Wear cotton underwear (preferably only during the day) and pantyhose with a cotton crotch to help prevent yeast infections.