What is Vaginitis ?
Vaginitis can be described as an inflammation of the vagina and vulva. It is a fairly common problem with women. This can be avoided by taking proper treatment in the initial stages itself. But women usually tend to hide this problem.
Changes in the activity of the vaginal epithelium and in the vaginal secretion at different ages have a profound influence on the defense against vaginal infection. In the,adult, the normal vaginal moisture or secretion consists of mucous and discarded vaginal cells. This discharge generally causes no irritation, though the amount secreted and consistency vary. The variance is also due to the periodicity of the menstrual cycle and psychological conditions. Normal healthy women do not suffer from the sensations of itching, burning, pain or irritation.
In unhealthy women and in abnormal conditions the resident 6rganisms (bacteria) multiply rapidly and produce excessive waste products. It causes tissue irritation in this region leading to itching, swelling and burning. There is increase in the frequency or discharge of urine which is accompanied with an unpleasant odour
What are the symptoms of vaginitis ?
The symptoms of vaginitis are feeling of heat and fullness in the vagina, a dragging feeling in the groin, increased urinary frequency and vaginal discharge, that is, leucorrhoea. The clear or white secretion becomes purulent and yellow. The severity of leucorrhoea depends upon the degree of bacterial infection. Common signs and symptoms of vaginitis may include :-
- Pain during intercourse.
- Light vaginal bleeding.
- Vaginal itching or irritation.
- Abdominal pain are also possible symptom.
What are the causes of vaginitis ?
Vaginitis has various causes. It may result from bacterial infections, fungal infection, protozoan infection, contact dermatitis or even an allergic reaction. The main causes of vaginitis are irritation of the vagina by external factors, like cuts, abrasions in this region, constant wearing of tight-fitting clothes and wearing unclean clothes, using dirty or infected water and lack of hygiene.
Certain medications and treatments can increase susceptibility to infection. These include the use of antibiotics, hormones and excessive douching. Susceptibility is greater in cases of pregnancy, diabetes, and certain psychological conditions as well as during the latter half of the menstrual cycle. Irritation from contraceptive devices can also lead to this condition.
What is the difference between the three types of vaginitis?
- Bacterial – infection is caused when healthy vaginal organisms are replaced by harmful bacteria. It is referred to as bacterial vaginosis and is the most common type of vaginitis.
- Yeast – infection is called candidiasis. It is caused by a fungus and is the second most common type of vaginitis.
- Protozoan – infection is called trichomoniasis and it is considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is the least common and comprises 3 percent to 5 percent of all vaginitis infections.
What causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the natural balance of organisms in the vagina is changed. The healthy vagina normally contains a variety of bacteria. One type of “good” bacteria, Lactobacillus , is particularly important because it keeps the vagina slightly acidic to reduce the growth of potentially harmful organisms. When these bacteria are replaced with different kinds of “bad” bacteria, called anaerobic bacteria, an unpleasant vaginal odor develops and an infection (vaginitis) occurs.
- Maintenance of hygienic conditions is the most important factor in the treatment of vaginitis. It is only after this is achieved that morbidity and consequent inflammation and discharge can be prevented.
- Another important factor is diet. The patient should be made to fast for three to five days. Depending upon the condition, the fasting period may be extended. During this period, she may take juices of lemon and other sub-acidic fruits. This will give the system an opportunity to divert its vital energies to check inflammation and infection.
- A decoction of the herb chebulic myrobalan has proved very useful for vaginal irritation and inflammation. It should be used as an external douche to wash the vulvar parts. When there is a thick white discharge, washing the part with a decoction made with neem leaves and chebulic myrobalan fruits will greatly help.
- A moderately prolonged cold hip bath accompanied with a hot foot bath is also helpful. The level of cold water must be 34 inches in height. The patient should sit in the tub in such a manner that legs remain out of the tub. This bath can be given for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Another mode of treatment considered beneficial is the wet girdle pack for about an hour. For this treatment, a thin cotton underwear and another thick or woolen underwear are required. The thin underwear should be wrung in cold water and worn by the patient. The thick dry underwear should be worn above the wet underwear. If the patient feels chill, she should be covered with a blanket. This treatment helps reduce inflammation.
- A cold douche on the perineal region for 10 to 16 minutes, twice a day helps reduce vaginitis. A mud pack on the abdomen for 10 minutes twice daily also helps reduce inflammation.
- Chromotherapy can also be used to treat this complaint. Blue light treatment given to the afflicted region for an hour accompanied with vaginal irrigation using green colored charged water helps reduce the infection.
Vaginitis Prevention Tips
- Avoid spreading bacteria from the rectum to the vagina by wiping front to back after going to the bathroom.
- Practice good hygiene by keeping the vaginal area clean using a mild soap and dry area well.
- Eat yogurt that contains active lactobacillus cultures. This sometimes may help reduce recurrent vaginal yeast infections. Lactobacillus is a type of “good” bacteria that’s common in your vagina.
- Avoid stress, which studies have shown to be a contributing factor for vaginitis.
- Practice safe sex and avoid multiple partners.