Vulvovaginitis refers to inflammation, irritation, and infection of the vulva, vagina, or both. It is a fairly common condition that can affect women at any time in their life, and different factors can cause that. However, the most common is vaginal infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites. It usually causes very annoying symptoms such as irritation, redness, itching, stinging, burning in the genital area and requires specific treatment depending on the cause. For this reason, it is advisable to go to the gynecologist as soon as possible to find out what is behind these symptoms and know what measures to take; it is also imperative to take utmost care of intimate hygiene.
In this FastlyHealarticle, we will detail the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Vulvovaginitis.
The most common cause of Vulvovaginitis is a vaginal infection caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, or viruses. Among the vaginal infections that usually cause inflammation, irritation, and condition of the vagina and vulva are those that we list in the following lines:
When A fungal infection causes Vulvovaginitis, it is called candidal Vulvovaginitis. This appears due to an overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus in the female genital area and usually occurs with changes in vaginal discharge (whitish and thick), itching, burning, irritation, redness, vulvar, vaginal inflammation, discomfort when urinating, and when have sexual intercourse.
You can see more details in the article Vaginal candidiasis: symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Bacterial vaginosis can also lead to Vulvovaginitis. In this case, it is an imbalance in the normal bacterial flora of the genital area, which can lead to a white or grayish vaginal discharge with a foul smell (similar to fish), burning and stinging when urinating, and internal vaginal itching and external.
As factors that predispose to its development, having several sexual partners, douching, the use of antibiotics and the IUD have been reported.
Another common cause of Vulvovaginitis is some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The one that usually causes Vulvovaginitis is trichomoniasis, an infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis contracted by having sex with an infected person. It causes the vaginal discharge of an abnormal color (green, gray, or yellow), redness, itching, burning, inflammation of the vagina and vulva, pain when having intercourse, and discomfort when urinating.
Other STDs that can cause inflammation and irritation in the vagina or vulva, although to a lesser extent, are chlamydia, genital herpes, and mycoplasma genitalium.
- Allergic reaction to latex, spermicides, lubricants, sperm, vaginal deodorants, douching, etc.
- Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause due to reduced estrogen levels. This can lead to vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis.
- Skin diseases.
- Presence of a foreign body inside the vagina.
- Use of very tight clothing or poor intimate hygiene habits.
Symptoms of Vulvovaginitis
Due to the diversity of possible causes, the symptoms of Vulvovaginitis can vary considerably from one patient to another, so the intensity and severity will not be the same in all cases. However, we can say that the signs and symptoms that it can cover are the following:
- Inflammation of the genital area.
- Constant itching
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with different characteristics.
- Bad vaginal odor.
- Pain, stinging, or burning when urinating.
- Pain or discomfort when having sexual intercourse.
In some types of Vulvovaginitis, abdominal pain, general malaise, fatigue, and fever may also occur.
Diagnosis of Vulvovaginitis
Given the previous symptoms of Vulvovaginitis, it is essential to consult with the gynecologist to undergo the appropriate examinations and, later, to initiate the most appropriate treatment.
The specialist will carry out a physical examination of the pelvic region and collect a sample of the mucosa or vaginal discharge to determine if it is some vaginal infection and the pathogen responsible for the said infection.
If there are no signs of infection, a biopsy of the affected area on the vulva may be requested.
Treatment for Vulvovaginitis
The pharmacological treatment of Vulvovaginitis depends on the microorganism or factor causing the infection of the vulva, vagina, or both.
- Bacterial infections: they will require antibiotic drug treatment.
- Fungal infections: an antifungal treatment is necessary, including using vaginal creams or ovules or taking oral pills.
- Allergic reactions: some antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve symptoms.
- Menopausal women: in some cases, the specialist may prescribe the use of topical estrogen cream, as well as recommend the use of intimate lubricants and vaginal moisturizers to combat dryness in the personal area.
Those patients who present some sexually transmitted infection should inform their partners so that they also undergo the appropriate medical tests, as it is very likely that they also require treatment.
How to prevent Vulvovaginitis
Some of the measures that can help prevent Vulvovaginitis are:
- Always keep the genital area clean and dry.
- Avoid using soaps or hygiene products that are irritating. The use of a specific intimate soap that respects the natural pH of the vagina is recommended.
- Avoid douching, intimate deodorants, fragrances, or powders for hygiene.
- While suffering from the infection, it is advisable to avoid tampons and instead opt for compresses.
- Use a condom in all sexual relations.
- Do not wear synthetic underwear. Prefer cotton.
- Avoid wearing very tight pants that do not allow air access to the genital area.
- When performing the needs, always clean the intimate area from front to back and never vice versa.
- Wash the intimate area very well before and after having sexual intercourse.
- Urinate after intercourse to prevent vaginal infections.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Vulvovaginitis: symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.