Vaginitis refers to the inflammation or infection of the vagina, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms and potential disruption of a woman’s daily life. While occasional episodes of vaginitis are common among women, recurrent vaginitis can be particularly bothersome and frustrating. Here we shed light on the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for recurrent vaginitis, empowering individuals with knowledge to seek appropriate care and management.
What is Recurrent Vaginitis?
Recurrent vaginitis is characterized by multiple episodes of vaginal inflammation or infection within a year, typically involving three or more instances. It can occur due to various reasons, including microbial imbalances, hormonal changes, compromised immune function, and certain lifestyle factors. Understanding the underlying causes is crucial for effective treatment and prevention.
Common Causes of Recurrent Vaginitis
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV): BV occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria such as Gardnerella vaginalis. The exact triggers for BV are not yet fully understood, but factors like sexual activity, douching, and certain hygienic products may contribute.
- Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC): Also known as a yeast infection, VVC is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. This can be influenced by factors such as hormonal changes, antibiotic use, high-sugar diets, weakened immune system, and tight-fitting clothing.
- Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, and both partners need to be treated to prevent reinfection.
- Atrophic Vaginitis: Common during menopause, atrophic vaginitis occurs due to decreased oestrogen levels, leading to thinning and dryness of vaginal tissues. The lack of natural lubrication increases the risk of inflammation and infection.
- Allergic Reactions: Some women may develop recurrent vaginitis due to allergic reactions to certain substances, such as latex condoms, spermicides, soaps, or detergents. Identifying and avoiding the allergens is crucial in managing these cases.
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Symptoms of Recurrent Vaginitis
Symptoms may vary depending on the specific underlying cause, but they often include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (colour, consistency, odour)
- Itching, irritation, and swelling of the vaginal area
- Burning sensation during urination
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Redness and soreness of the vulva
- Vaginal dryness
- Discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen
The treatment of recurrent vaginitis aims to address the underlying cause and alleviate the associated symptoms. Some common treatment options include:
- Antifungal Medications: For recurrent yeast infections, antifungal creams, suppositories, or oral medications may be prescribed to control the overgrowth of Candida.
- Antibiotics: In cases of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, antibiotics are prescribed to eliminate the harmful bacteria or parasites responsible. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics to prevent recurrence.
- Hormone Therapy: In cases of atrophic vaginitis, estrogen therapy, either in the form of creams, rings, or tablets, may be recommended to restore vaginal health and alleviate symptoms.
- Lifestyle Changes: Adopting good hygiene practices, avoiding irritants such as douches and harsh soaps, wearing breathable underwear, and maintaining a healthy diet can contribute to the prevention of recurrent vaginitis.
Dr Maria Karakoulaki is considered one of the best doctors in Dubai for Recurrent Vaginitis.
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