Notice a bit more itch down there lately, or an unpleasant odor even you can’t stand? You are not alone, millions of women experience these same itchy smelly symptoms of vaginitis.
Vaginitis is the term for any infection or inflammation of the vagina. These inflammations or infections may cause:
- smelly abnormal vaginal discharge
There are different types of vaginitis, each having their own causes and symptoms:
- Yeast (Candida) infection is the most familiar form of vaginitis, occurring when too much of the fungus Candida grows in your vagina.
- Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age, caused by an overgrowth of bacteria that are usually present in the vagina.
- Chlamydia is a curable infection, which many woman have and don’t even know it.
- Herpes simplex virus (genital herpes) is caused by a virus, which can be controlled, but not cured.
- Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a parasite and is usually curable.
- Human papilloma virus (HPV) is caused by a virus, and it can be controlled, but not cured.
- Gonnorhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial disease cure treatment with antibiotics.
- Non-infectious vaginitis is usually caused by an allergic reaction or irritation that causes burning, itching or vaginal discharge even if there is no infection.
For those who wish to treat your vaginitis naturally, you will need to figure out which type you have. Vaginitis treatment is type specific, one does not fit all.
Non-infectious vaginitis can be treated by stopping the use of the product that caused the allergic reaction or irritation, such as:
- vaginal sprays
- fabric softeners
- spermicidal products
For severe reactions, your doctor may provide medicated cream to help reduce the symptoms until the reaction subsides.
There are some things you can do to lower your chances of getting vaginitis. If you get yeast infections often, you may want to avoid wearing clothes that hold in heat and moisture, such as tight jeans. Also, avoid using douches and vaginal sprays because they can kill “good” bacteria or cause irritation.
Keep in mind that some women have no symptoms, so get your regular gynecologic (pap smear) exams done. Ugh. And above all, practice safe sex to help protect against sexually transmitted forms of vaginitis.