If you have itching, pain, or discharge from your vagina, you may have a type of vaginitis. What is vaginitis? What causes it? Can you take antibiotics for vaginitis? Here’s some information about the condition.
What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina. It may cause discharge, itching, or pain. There are many different types and causes of vaginitis. Each type and cause of vaginitis has a different treatment, so it’s crucial to get an accurate diagnosis when you are suffering from vaginitis.
Types and causes of vaginitis
The most common types of vaginitis include:
- Bacterial vaginosis, caused by an overgrowth of bacteria found in the vagina
- Candida, caused by a fungus, more commonly known as a yeast infection
- Chlamydia, an STD (sexually transmitted disease)
- Gonorrhea, an STD (sexually transmitted disease)
- Allergies or other reactions, known as non-infectious vaginitis
- Trichomoniasis, caused by a parasite
- Viral vaginitis, caused by a virus
Symptoms of vaginitis
Symptoms of vaginitis can vary depending on the type and causes, but may include:
- Vaginal itching or irritation
- Change in color, odor, or amount of discharge from your vagina
- Pain when urinating
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
If you experience unusual discharge, take note of it and inform your doctor. Different types of discharge point to different types of vaginitis. For example:
- Bacterial vaginosis tends to cause a fishy smelling, grayish-white discharge which may be more obvious after sex.
- Yeast infection may cause discharge that is thick and white and resembles cottage cheese.
- Trichomoniasis can cause a greenish-yellow frothy discharge.
Vaginitis risk factors
Things that can increase the risk of developing vaginitis include:
- Hormonal changes like pregnancy, birth control, or menopause
- Sexual activity
- Having a sexually transmitted disease/infection
- Certain medication like antibiotics or steroids
- Spermicide use
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Scented hygiene products like bubble bath, vaginal spray, or vaginal deodorant
- Wearing damp or tight clothing
- Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
The type of vaginitis treatment you need will depend on what type of vaginitis you have. Some examples of vaginitis treatments include:
- Bacterial vaginosis is treated with oral or topical antibiotics.
- Yeast infections can often be treated with over-the-counter products such as miconazole (Monistat 1), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), butoconazole (Femstat 3), or tioconazole (Vagistat-1). Doctors can also prescribe an oral antifungal medication like fluconazole (Diflucan).
- Trichomoniasis requires a prescription for something like metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax) tablets.
- Noninfectious vaginitis is best treated by determining what product your body is reacting to and avoiding it. Possible culprits may include new soap, laundry detergent, douches, deodorants, spermicides, vaginal sprays, sanitary napkins, or tampons.
Antibiotics for vaginitis
If you have bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic such as:
- Metronidazole (Flagyl) tablets
- Metronidazole (MetroGel) gel
- Clindamycin (Cleocin) cream
If you think you have a form of vaginigtis, contact a PlushCare doctor right away. Our online doctors can diagnose conditions and even prescribe antibiotics on phone or computer.