What Your Teen Should Know About Vaginitis?
Created by Dr Pooja Mittal Updated on Mar 25, 2019
Teenage can be confusing times as it comes with its fair share of changes. With the changes come the need for awareness. Your teenage daughter should be aware of physical changes in her body. Here's what your girl should know about vaginal infection. The vagina normally produces a clear or slightly cloudy discharge with little or no odour. It doesn’t cause itching/burning or irritation.It may leave a brown spot on the underwear. The nature of vaginal discharge varies at different times during your cycle. Just after the periods, it’s relatively less . At midcycle , it is thin, copious and watery. In later half of the cycle ( just before period ), it is thicker and more extensive.
What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis is the medical term for inflammation or infection of the vagina . Vulvovaginitis is the inflammation of both the vagina and the vulva (female external genital organs).
How does vaginitis happen?
- Vaginitis can result from an infection caused by organisms like bacteria, fungi or viruses . Some of these are passed between partners during sexual intercourse.
- Irritation due to chemicals in soaps/ douches / lotions /fabric softeners etc. can cause non- infectious vaginitis.
- More than one type of vaginitis can be present at the same time. Specific symptoms may be present or sometimes there is no symptom at all.
When to visit your doctor?
- When there is itching, burning or irritation over the private parts. It can be present at any time, but is generally worse at night.
- Burning urination
- Foul smelling discharge
- Change in colour /amount or smell of discharge
- Pain in lower abdomen/ pelvic or vaginal area.
Different Types Of Vaginitis :
- FUNGAL VAGINITIS – Candida are a group of fungi that are present in small numbers in normal vagina. They can increase in number if the friendly bacteria in vagina which keep the fungal growth under check are killed by an antibiotic taken for some other infection like tummy / urine infection. Other causes can be an increase in the amount of sugar in the vaginal area or urine ( due to diabetes ), too much moisture ( which favours fungal growth ) or an abnormal vaginal pH due to excessive use of soap or douching.
A fungal vaginitis produces thick white curd - like discharge and can cause intense itching , redness and small cuts in the vagina. Sometimes , there are no symptoms or only burning urination.
- BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS
It causes thin, white, copious discharge with a fishy smell. This infection occurs when several normal vaginal bacteria overgrow due to vaginal pH disturbances. Bacterial vaginosis is not sexually transmitted and generally doesn’t cause redness or itching.
- TRICHOMONIASIS AND CHLAMYDIASIS
Trichomoniasis causes frothy greenish yellow discharge with itching, soreness or burning . This is caused by an organism called Trichomonas and is sexually transmitted. CHLAMYDIASIS is one of the commonest sexually transmitted infections, it causes pain and burning.
- VIRAL VAGINITIS
Herpes simplex is a sexually transmitted virus that causes painful sores and ulcers in genital area in both men and women. There is no cure, treatment can reduce severity of attacks which are often associated with stress or emotional distress.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is another sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts in both men and women, cervical cancer in women and anal/ penile cancer in men.
- IRRITANT/ NON INFECTIOUS VAGINITIS
This is generally an allergy to creams, douches, detergents, fabric softeners etc. which causes redness and burning.
Let's talk about the treatment
The key to treating vaginitis is proper diagnosis which is sometimes difficult . It’s very important to treat the sexual partner to prevent reinfection. Be sure to visit your doctor if any symptoms are there or if they come back.
Preventing Vaginitis – What Can Be Done?
- Wearing loose cotton underwear, keeping intimate area clean and dry.
- Avoid irritants (scented soaps, creams etc.)
- Wipe from front to back after washroom activities.
- Avoid douching – it disrupts normal vaginal flora.Avoid hot tubs, pools, spas etc. when having an infection
- Always practice safe sex, use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
- Getting sexual partners treated.
- Getting vaccinated against HPV
- Including probiotics (like curd )in diet.
- Keeping blood sugars under check, maintaining healthy weight.
- Eating healthy for good immunity against infections.