All women have vaginal discharge at some time or other in their lives. In most cases, this is normal vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge may occur normally at some time in a woman's life:
- In the week before the periods
- At the time of ovulation which usually occurs about 14-16 days after the last period.
- During pregnancy
- During sexual excitement
- Hormonal supplementation such as with birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- At around the time of puberty.
Causes of vaginitis
1. Yeast infection - The commonest cause of Vaginitis is yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infection is caused mainly by the fungus known as Candida albicans. So the condition is also known as female candidiasis.
- Trichomoniasis causes intense itching of the vagina and vulva which may lead to swellling of the vulva. Vaginal discharge is thick, foamy and greenish with a foul smell.
- Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the Gram-negative bacteria, Neisseria Gonorrhea. The chief symptoms are a thick, whitish or yellowish, creamy vaginal discharge, increased frequency of passing urine, pain around the vagina and urethral area. Itching is also common.
Candida is present to a greater or lesser degree on the skin of all human beings. It is also present on the skin of the vulva and inner thighs. It is capable of causing an infection only when the conditions are right for it to grow.
Candida grows readily in a warm , moist environment. So, candidiasis or yeast infection of the vagina is seen more when the weather is warm and women sweat readily. Women who wear tight underclothes which prevent the vulval areas from drying out are also at risk og getting candidiasis. Women who are overweight or women who are prone to develop infections like those with diabetes, anemia or a suppressed immune system also suffer from candidiasis or yeast infection more often.
The main symptoms of candidiasis are itching and vaginal discharge. The discharge is thick, whitish and curdy. There may be a sour smell. Itching is very common. Pain occurs in later stages if there is inflammation of the vaginal walls.
2. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) - Bacterial vaginosis is a condition in which there is overgrowth of normal bacteria found in the vagina. It is usually a result of a change in the ph (acidity) of the vagina which allows the overgrowth of bacterias like gardnerella and e.coli.
3. Sexually transmitted Diseses (STD) - STDs like trichomoniasis and Gonorrhea can also cause vaginitis.
Diagnosis of Vaginitis
The different types of vaginits is diagnosed by a swab taken from the vagina and examined in a lab. Fungal infection can usually be diagnosed by the itching and the curdy vaginal discharge. Blood tests together with vaginal swabs are required to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases.
Treatment of Vaginitis
Treatment depends on the cause. Vaginal or oral antibacterial tablets together with anti-inflammatory medicines should be prescribed.
Dr. Madhumita Das Mazumdar, MD(O&G)
Senior Consultant Gynecologist,
House No 7, Trinayan Path,
Opp Ascent Academy,Beltola Tiniali
Opp BSNL Office, Lachit Nagar,
Near Bora Service Petrol Pump, Ulubari
Phone - +919954056516