Vulvovaginitis means infection of the vagina and the external opening of the vagina i.e. the vulva. It is one of the most common gynecological problems encountered by women, usually in pre-puberty years.Vulvovaginitis causes a great deal of irritation in the vagina. We shall discuss the topic in details in the following content.
Types of vulvovaginits
Vaginitis is the inflammation of the vagina and when the vulva also gets irritated or inflamed, it leads to vulvovaginitis. There are 3 types of infections that can lead to vaginitis.
Any or all conditions can affect a woman simultaneously. However, the symptoms may vary according to the infection. In a few cases, the infected woman may remain asymptomatic.
Symptoms of vulvovaginitis
Women with vulvovaginitis may develop some or most of the following symptoms:
- Itching, burning and irritation in the genital area
- Foul and unpleasant odor from the vagina
- Increased discharge (could be yellow/green in color) from the vagina
- Inflammation, tenderness and pain around the vagina
- Burning or discomfort while urinating
- Irritation or pain during sexual intercourse
What causes vulvovaginitis
Young girls are more vulnerable to vulvovaginitis as the lining of the vagina and vulva is quite thin and gets easily inflamed.
The most common infection is caused by bacteria while other types ofvulvovaginitisare triggered by Candidia yeast, thread worms and trichomoniasis. It can also be caused by a viral infection. Women who indulge inrisky sexual activities are also at risk of getting vulvovaginitis.
One can also suffer from nonspecificvulvovaginitis due to improper hygiene of the genital area. This could include accumulation of traces of soap or personal care products after bathing, wearing tight panties and irritation from sanitary pads and vaginal deodorants and sprays.
Vulvovaginitis occurs in postmenopausal women is mainly due to low estrogen levels.
Diagnosis of vulvovaginitis
You gynecologist shall evaluate the symptoms that you are suffering from and might conduct a physical pelvic examination to have a closer look.
Your doctor might want to collect the vaginal discharge for a wet prep test. It entails examining the vaginal fluid under microscope. This test helps to identify the type of microorganism that has caused the infection.
Treatment of vulvovaginitis
The treatment depends on the underlying cause of the infection.
Different lines of treatment include:
- Prescription of topical anti-bacterial cream or oral antibiotics for bacterial infection
- There are several OTC anti yeast and anti-fungal creams available. You might consult your doctor and apply such products as per instructed.
- Cortisone creams also prove useful to overcome inflammatory symptoms
- Non specific vulvovaginitis might be treated with antihistamine pills or cream
Estrogen creams might be given to women with estrogen deficiency, which will eventually reduce the symptoms as hormonal balance is maintained. Sexually transmitted infections need further treatment and management.
Self-care for vulvovaginitis
- It’s the responsibility of parents to teach their young girls regarding personal hygiene and care.
- Avoid using bubble baths and chemical or perfume based personal products if you have developed the irritation from them.
- Make sure you rinse your vagina properly so that no traces of soap are left behind.
- Your doctor might advise you Sitz bath, so go for it. It helps to alleviate the pain and tenderness
- Always wear cotton underpants. Avoid wearing nylon and tight fitting pants or pantyhose for long duration.
Vulvovaginitis often does not require any treatment and you will be less prone to infections, if you follow the aforementioned simple self-caretips.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 11, 2015