One‑Third of Women Will Have Vaginitis at Some Point in Life


Feb 24, 2020


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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, at least one-third of women show symptoms of vaginitis at some point during their lifetime. It is an infection that affects people of all ages, although it occurs most commonly during their reproductive years.

Since the prevalence of vaginitis is so high, it’s important to know the signs to spot it and treat it before it’s too late.

What is vaginitis?

Inflammation in the vagina is known as vaginitis. This can result in swelling, pain, itchiness or excess discharge.

What causes vaginitis?

The most common cause of vaginitis is an infection of the vaginal canal — for example, a yeast infection. In some cases, vaginitis could be caused by a sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Allergic reactions to condoms, perfumes, douching, lubricants, or even semen can also cause vaginitis. For some individuals, even the use of tampons could lead to the inflammation of vaginitis.

Some factors such as pregnancy, using antibiotics or birth control devices, or experiencing low estrogen levels during menopause could also cause vaginitis.

What are the symptoms of vaginitis?

According to Medical News Today (MNT), those suffering from vaginitis may experience redness or swelling of the labia majora and minora (the inner and outer lips) and pain during sex or while urinating. There may also be some irritation in the general genital area, along with whitish, watery discharge.

Can having sex increase the chances of having vaginitis?

Per a study, sexual intercourse can increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis, a type of vaginitis. The chances of its transmission increase by 60% in cases of intercourse between two women, the study states.

Related on The Swaddle:

Everything You Need to Know About Vaginal Yeast Infections

How does one get diagnosed with vaginitis?

The doctor, on asking for a medical history about any previous sexually transmitted infections, may perform a pelvic exam inside the vaginal canal to check for inflammation and discharge and to take a sample. Based on the appearance, pH levels, and smell of the vagina, the doctor may be able to diagnose vaginitis.

What is the treatment for vaginitis?

Multiple causes for vaginitis make it difficult to treat vaginitis. Usually, if an infection is the cause, vaginitis is treated with antibiotic medication or antifungal or antibacterial creams. The treatment, however, depends on what caused it in the first place.

Is vaginitis preventable?

Maintaining good hygiene is important to avoid vaginitis. Some methods involve using mild soaps, wearing cotton underwear, and staying away from douching altogether. Vaginitis may not be dangerous but it is important that individuals complete the full course of whatever medication is prescribed to eliminate the infection and/or reduce the inflammation, and prevent it from occurring again. Avoiding sex and vaginal products for a few days will also help with recovery, Healthline states.


Written By Anubhuti Matta

Anubhuti Matta is an associate editor with The Swaddle. When not at work, she’s busy pursuing kathak, reading books on and by women in the Middle East or making dresses out of Indian prints.


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