The term Vaginitis is a term used by the medical fraternity to cover certain conditions that lead to infections and/or inflammation of the vagina. When the inflammation affects both the internal parts of the vagina, and the vulva (the external parts of the vagina), the condition is then referred to as Vulvovaginitis. You can be both diagnosed and treated for Vaginitis at the private women health services facility at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
The common causes of Vaginitis
There are several types and causes of Vaginitis. They include:
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. The vagina normally contains a certain amount of bacteria, both good and bad. Under normal circumstances, the good bacteria are in the ascendancy. But when the balance is upset and more bad bacteria are present, this can cause BV. The causes of a bacterial overgrowth are not fully understood, although bacterial overgrowth in the vagina has been linked to sexual intercourse, particularly in anyone who has a new sex partner or who has multiple sex partners. It can, however, also manifest itself in women who are not sexually active.
Chlamydia Vaginitis is caused by Chlamydia and particular bacterium called Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is one of the most prolific STIs here in the UK. According the NHS website 206,912 people were diagnosed with the infection in 2012, and in women it often causes vaginitis as a side effect. If you think you may have contracted Chlamydia, or you have vaginitis and are unsure as to the cause, you should check with your family GP or, if you work in London, why not drop into the sexual health screening services at Broadgate Clinic London Wall? Find out more about Chlamydia by getting to the Chlamydia page here on the Broadgate GP website.
Genital herpes or viral Vaginitis
Vaginitis can also develop by contracting Genital Herpes, an infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. As with Chlamydia induced Vaginitis, you should make an early appointment to see your doctor, or attend a GUM clinic. If you work in London, you can avail yourself of the walk-in women health services at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
Non-infectious Vaginitis is often caused by douching, the use of perfumed soaps and scented detergents, and spermicidal products that are used in the manufacture of condoms. It can also be caused by a thinning of the vaginal lining, which sometimes happens following decreased hormonal levels after going through the menopause, or having had a surgical procedure to remove the ovaries.
Trichomoniasis Vaginitis is caused by a single celled parasite known as Trichomonas Vaginalis. The parasite is predominantly spread during sexual intercourse with a partner who has already been infected. When men acquired the parasite it normally affects their urinary tracts, although often it is symptomless. Women, however, will usually display symptoms including itching and irritation of the vagina.
A yeast infection is caused by a fungal overgrowth, often identified as Candida Albicans. Yeast infections also appear in other moist areas of the body such as the mouth and in skin folds.
Some symptoms are common across several of types Vaginitis, whereas others are specific to specific types.
- An abnormal discharge from the vagina; abnormal in terms of colour, quantity and odour.
- Inflammation, itching and/or irritation of the vagina
- Pain when indulging in intercourse
- Pain when urinating
- Light bleeding or spotting from the vagina
Some symptoms can indicate the type of Vaginitis you are suffering from, although diagnosis can be somewhat difficult, even for clinicians, as patients sometimes have more than one type of Vaginitis at once. Some women present no symptoms whatsoever.
Specific symptoms linked to specific types of Vaginitis
- Greyish white discharge that that has an unpleasant odour (sometimes referred to as being fish-like). The odour is often more prominent after sexual intercourse. This symptom is indicative of Bacterial Vaginosis.
- A thick, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese. This symptom is associated with Yeast infection Vaginitis.
- A greenish-yellow discharge that may be frothy in appearance. This symptom is associated with Trichomoniasis Vaginitis.
When to seek a diagnosis
Women who have suffered from vaginitis before, who know the symptoms, and who are confident that that is what is wrong with them need not necessarily see a doctor or go to a special clinic. There are proprietary treatments that can be bought over the counter in most pharmacies. For women who experience the condition for the first time, or whose symptoms are varying from those previously experienced, it is recommended that you should go and see your doctor. Alternatively, if you work in London, you can pop in to the private women health services facility at Broadgate Clinic London Wall. Remember, it is possible that the vaginitis could be linked to an STI.
The treatments for Vaginitis
The treatments for vaginitis vary depending on the type of vaginitis you have acquired. There are a number of proprietary creams and tables that are on sale in most high street or supermarket pharmacies. If the Vaginitis is associated with an STI, the STI must be treated with specific medications (check the individual STI web-pages here on the Broadgate Clinic website). For bacterial, viral, and Trichomoniasis Vaginitis, a course of prescription antibiotics are usually prescribed, as is a antibiotic gel to be applied to the inside of vagina. The professional, discrete women health services clinicians at Broadgate Clinic London Wall will advise you of the most appropriate course of action to take.
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