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Vaginitis : Causes and Treatment

Vaginitis is an infection or inflammation that occurs in the vagina. This condition is generally accompanied by an indication of the appearance of leucorrhoea, changes in color and the amount of vaginal discharge experienced, odor caused, irritation or itching in the vagina, pain during sex or urination, and spots or mild bleeding.

However, there are also people who may feel other symptoms, such as bad odors in the vagina (especially after sex) or even no symptoms at all.

Vaginitis can be treated alone without going to the doctor, especially if you already recognize the symptoms because you have experienced vaginitis and recovered completely. But if you feel unusual symptoms or changes in the vagina, consultation with a doctor should be done. Especially if:

  • Never had a vaginal infection.
  • Feel the symptoms that are different from vaginal infections that have been experienced.
  • Having sex with more than 1 person. Symptoms of vaginitis are sometimes similar to sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Have fever, chills, or pelvic pain.
  • Continue to experience vaginal infections even after using over-the-counter antifungal drugs.

Causes of Vaginitis

This type of vaginitis is determined based on the cause, most of which can be:

  • Fungal or bacterial infections. Under normal conditions, the vagina does have a small portion of fungal cells or bacteria without causing any interference. But an infection will occur if the fungus or bacteria multiplies uncontrollably.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and genital herpes.
  • Irritations due to chemicals, for example because of the content of soap, clothes fragrance, or condoms that trigger allergic reactions.
  • Wash the inside of the vagina.
  • Vaginal atrophy, ie thinning of the vaginal wall due to decreased estrogen levels after menopause.

Risk Factors for Vaginitis

Apart from the various causes, there are many other factors that can increase a woman's risk of developing vaginitis. These risk factors include:

  • Hormonal changes, for example due to menopause, pregnancy, or using contraceptive pills.
  • Actively having sex, especially if you have more than one partner.
  • Having a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Side effects of drugs, for example antibiotics and steroids.
  • Diabetes is not treated properly.
  • Use intimate cleansing products, such as betel soap.
  • Wear damp or tight clothing.

Diagnosis of Vaginitis

The initial step in the process of diagnosing vaginitis is to ask about the symptoms experienced, the patient's medical history, and check the condition of the vagina. The doctor will then take samples of vaginal fluid to be examined in the laboratory so that the cause can be detected.

A balance of pH (acidic or alkaline atmosphere) in the vagina will also be examined. Increased pH levels can indicate bacterial vaginosis.

Treatment of Vaginitis

After confirming the results of the diagnosis, the doctor will apply a treatment method based on the causes of vaginitis. The treatment steps given usually include:

  • Based on the National Guidelines for Sexually Transmitted Infections, metronidazole is the drug of choice for treating cases of bacterial vaginitis. Metronidazole can be given as a single dose or taken twice a day for 1 week. People who consume metronidazole are not advised to consume alcohol, because it can cause dangerous side effects.
  • For fungal vaginitis, various antifungal treatments such as miconazole, clotrimazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole can be prescribed by a doctor. Especially the last two drugs should not be given to pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children under 12 years.
  • Hormone replacement therapy. If vaginitis is caused by a decrease in the hormone estrogen, doctors will recommend hormone replacement therapy to replace the body's natural estrogen hormone. Whereas in dealing with vaginitis due to allergic reactions to chemicals, the doctor will advise patients to avoid the substances that trigger their allergies. Doctors also will sometimes give estrogen topical medications to relieve symptoms of vaginitis.

In addition to drugs, there are a number of ways you can relieve symptoms, while speeding up the healing process. These simple steps include:

  • Keep the vagina and surrounding area clean and dry. Use soap without fragrance and wipe until it is completely dry. Avoid soaking warm water while the infection has not fully recovered.
  • Do not wash the inside of the vagina.
  • Use cold water compresses to reduce vaginal discomfort.
  • Wear underwear that is not tight and made of cotton.

Vaginitis is not fatal. However, leftover vaginitis can cause certain complications, for example being more susceptible to being infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and HIV. For those who are pregnant, vaginitis due to trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis is thought to trigger premature birth and babies born at risk of having inadequate weight.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.