Many times the vagina can become inflamed and may cause some discharge, pain and most times itching. This happens because the vagina balance of bacteria in the vagina is upset and this can lead to an infection. There are “good” bacteria in the vagina known as lactobacillus, this is what gives the vagina its acidic pH
The most common causes of these are:
• Bacterial vaginosis: which happens when the normal bacteria in your vagina is overwhelmed by other harmful bacteria
• Yeast infections: a fungal infection commonly by a fungus called candida,
• Trichomoniasis: a sexually transmitted infection
How Do I Know I have Vaginitis?
There are a couple of symptoms you may feel, for instance, you could have:
• A change in the colour, odour or discharge from your vagina
• Vaginal itching
• Pain during intercourse, this can happen if the pelvic organs have become infected
• Vaginal bleeding or spotting.
Not all women have vaginal discharge, however, some women may have different vaginal discharges based on the kind of infections that they have, if you want to know exactly what your vaginal discharge means, click here.
When Do I need to see a doctor?
If you notice any of the following, it is time to see a doctor:
• A foul vaginal smell, discharge or itching.
• Fever, chills or shivering
• Pain during sex
• You just got a new sexual partner
• You took some drugs for yeast infections but your symptoms are still there
Like we said earlier, there are different causes of vaginal itching/inflammation and they can either be one of the following:
• Bacterial vaginosis. There are a group of bacteria called the lactobacillus, we will call them good bacteria, whenever there is an imbalance, either because bad ones outnumber them or they are killed off by some habits like douching, the person develops what is called bacterial vaginosis
This type is linked to sexual intercourse — especially if you have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner — but it can also occur in women who aren’t sexually active.
• Yeast infection: This usually occurs when a fungus eg: Candida outgrows in your vagina. This fungus can also cause infections in other parts of the body
• Trichomoniasis. This common sexually transmitted infection is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. It is sexually transmitted and can be gotten from anyone who is infected with this parasite, it can cause a greenish foul-smelling vaginal discharge
• Noninfectious vaginitis. Sometimes, vaginal sprays, feminine washes, soaps, scented detergents and spermicidal products can cause an allergic reaction in the vagina and may lead to inflammation.
• Vaginal Atrophy. As a woman approaches menopause, the vaginal walls tend to get thin as the effect of estrogen is reduced on the tissues of the vagina. This can lead to dryness and itchiness
What makes it easier to get this?
• Sexual intercourse
• Hormonal changes, for example, pregnancy or contraceptive pills
• STI (sexually transmitted infections)
• Antibiotic abuse
• Using feminine products, sprays, washes etc
• Wearing damp underwear(panties)
• IUD.(Intrauterine device) used for preventing pregnancies
How Do I prevent this?
• Avoid Scented tampons, pads, soaps,
• Avoid harsh soaps around the vagina
• Avoid douching, the inside of the vagina is not meant to be washed, we cannot stress it enough that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ
• Avoid abusing antibiotics
• Wipe from front to back after using the toilet: this will reduce the number of bacteria from the faeces that get into the vagina
• Wear cotton underwear
• Always use protection during sex