Vulvovaginitis is inflammation or infection caused by a variety of factors. It can lead to discomfort, however, it is often easily treated.
Types of Vulvovaginitis
There are three main types of vulvovaginitis:
- Yeast infections are the most common. They are caused when antifungal bacteria within the vagina is overtaken by Candida albicans, a naturally occurring fungus.
- Bacterial vulvovaginitis occurs when there is an overgrowth of certain types of organisms already present in the vagina.
- Trichomonas vaginitis is caused by a parasite that is generally transferred during sexual intercourse.
Causes of Vulvovaginitis
Typically, vulvovaginitis results from an imbalance in normal bacteria growth. Causes can include environmental factors, irritants and allergens, such as:
- Tight-fitting clothing
- Some chemicals found in soaps and perfumes
- Poor hygiene
- Wiping back-to-front after using the restroom
- Vaginal contraceptives
- Antibiotic medications
- Hormonal changes (i.e., pregnancy or menopause)
Many symptoms for vulvovaginitis could have other causes, however, they include:
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal discharge – Yeast infections are generally associated with a thick, white discharge. Bacterial vulvovaginitis often presents with a thin, gray discharge. Lastly, trichomonas vaginitis may have a heavy vaginal discharge that can be yellow-grey or green.
- Vaginal odor
- Genital rash
- Pain during urination
- Light spotting or bleeding
Treatment Options for Vulvovaginitis
Depending on the type of vulvovaginitis, the following treatment options may be recommended:
- Yeast Infection – For patients who have had yeast infections in the past and/or are confident in the diagnosis, over-the-counter treatments are successful in clearing candida albicans overgrowth. Antifungal suppositories or creams like miconazole, tioconazole, and clotrimazole are available without a prescription in 1-, 3- and 7-day courses depending on the strength.
- Bacterial Vulvovaginitis – Effective treatment generally involves prescription medications taken over the course of a week.
- Trichomonas Vaginitis – Usually treated with prescription medication.
Vulvoganinitis that does not improve with non-presciption medications should be evaluated by a gynecologist.