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Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vaginal mucosa usually caused by a Candida albicans (a yeast), Trichomonas vaginalis (a protozoan) or Gardnerella (a bacterium), and rarely by other pathogens. Only Trichomonas can be considered a sexually-transmitted disease.
Last Updated - 10th January 2006
- Change in amount of vaginal discharge
- Change in color of vaginal discharge
- Change in odor of vaginal discharge
- Change in texture of vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Prevention And Treatment
- Limit the number of your sex partners. Multiple partners may increase your risk for vaginitis by changing the normal environment of your vagina.
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse.
- Frequent infections may be related to use of a diaphragm or IUD, spermicidal foams or jellies, or condoms.
- Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom as this will help avoid spreading bacteria from your anus to your vagina.
- Wash your vaginal area once per day with plain water or a mild, nonperfumed soap.
- Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
- Avoid douching.
- Avoid feminine deodorant sprays and other perfumed products are they irritate and dry your skin.
- During your period, change tampons at least 3 times per day or consider alternating tampons with pads.
- Eat yogurt or milk that contain live Lactobacillus if you are taking an antibiotic as antibiotic medications can kill the healthy bacteria that grow in your vagina.
- Avoid tight pantyhose or clothing.
- Wear underwear with a cotton crotch.
- Relieve itching with a cold water compress or cool baths.
When To Call A Physician
- If symptoms do not improve in 3 to 4 days.
- If you have pelvic or lower abdominal pain, fever and unusual vaginal discharge.
- If you have pain or bleeding after sexual intercourse.
- If vaginal discharge is foul smelling.
- If you have itching that does not go away after using a non-prescription medication for yeast infections.
- If you thing you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease.
- If you plan to see your physician, do not douche, use vaginal creams or jellies or have sexual intercourse for 48 hourse before your appointment as this will make the problem more difficult to diagnose.
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