Vaginitis is any vaginal infection, inflammation or irritation that causes a change in normal vaginal discharge. General symptoms include a marked change in the amount, color, odor or consistency of the discharge, itching, painful urination, and pain during intercourse.
Among older women, yeast infections are the most common king of vaginitis. In addition to vaginal itching and painful urination, yeast infections cause a white, curdy “cottage cheese” discharge.
Post-menopausal women, who have lower estrogen levels, are more prone to vaginitis. Diabetes and the use of antibiotics or corticosteroids also increase risk.
Vaginitis is common and is not necessarily a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease. Some women seem more susceptible than others. An aggravating fact about vaginitis is that it can recur.
- Wear cotton underpants. The organisms that cause vaginitis grow best in warm, moist places, and nylon underpants tend to trap heat and perspiration. Avoid clothing that is tight in the crotch and thighs.
- Wash your genital area once a day with a mild soap and warm water. Dry thoroughly.
- Avoid douching frequently. A healthy vagina will clean itself.
- Avoid feminine deodorant spray and other perfumed products. They irritate tender skin.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
- If you are taking antibiotics, include plenty of yogurt or buttermilk in your diet to help prevent a yeast infection.
- A bacterial or non-specific infection may go away by itself in three to four days.
- Avoid intercourse to give irritated vaginal tissues time to heal.
- Avoid scratching. Relieve itching with cold water compresses.
- Recurrent yeast infections may be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams, Gyne-Lotrimin or Monistat.
Filed Under: Women's Health
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