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Dr Bryan Kenny expert answers powered by Healthshare
General Gynaecology 

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that results in itching, pain, and discharge. 

There are different types of vaginitis. The most common types are:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infections or candidiasis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Non-infectious vaginitis

Symptoms of vaginitis

Signs and symptoms of vaginitis include:

  • Change in colour, odour, and amount of vaginal discharge. The change in colour of the vaginal discharge depends on the type of vaginitis you have. In bacterial vaginosis, the discharge is greyish-white; in yeast infections, it is thick, white with a ‘cottage cheese’ appearance, and frothy, greenish-yellow in trichomoniasis. The odour could be foul or fishy.
  • Vaginal itching 
  • Pain during urination or sex
  • Light vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Redness or swelling of the vulva and/or vagina

Causes of vaginitis

The cause of vaginitis depends on what type of you have.

  • Bacterial vaginosis is usually caused by an imbalance of naturally-occurring bacteria in the vagina. 
  • Yeast infections are caused when there is an overgrowth of normal yeast Candida albicans in your vagina.
  • Trichomoniasis or Trichomoniasis vaginitis is caused by a parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection. 
  • Non-infectious vaginitis is caused by allergic reactions to or irritations from chemicals in perfumed soaps, feminine hygiene products, vaginal sprays, douches, creams, tampons, scented tissue paper, and spermicidal products.
  • Atrophic vaginitis is caused by low estrogen levels after menopause or surgical removal of ovaries. Low oestrogen levels result in vaginal thinning, vaginal dryness, irritation, and burning.

Risk factors for developing vaginitis include:

  • Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, and menopause.
  • Being sexually active
  • Having a sexually transmitted infection
  • Medications, such as antibiotics and corticosteroids.
  • Use of feminine hygiene products such as vaginal sprays, bubble baths, etc.
  • Use of birth control methods like intrauterine devices (IUD) and spermicidal products
  • Douching
  • Wearing damp and tight-fitting underwear and clothing 
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

Treatment of vaginitis

Treatment depends on the type of vaginitis you have:

  • Bacterial vaginosis is treated with prescribed antibiotics. They could be in oral, topical, or suppository forms.
  • Yeast infections are usually treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams or vaginal pessaries. They may also be treated with prescribed oral antifungal medications. 
  • Trichomoniasis is treated with prescribed oral antibiotics.
  • Non-infectious vaginitis is treated by identifying the source(s) of irritation or allergic reaction and avoiding it/them.


Atrophic vaginitis is treated with prescribed hormone treatments. Oestrogen is provided through tablets, pills, vaginal creams, rings or patches to relieve symptoms.

You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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