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Vaginitis

Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina. It's commonly caused by an infection or irritation of the vagina.

Symptoms of vaginitis include abnormal vaginal discharge, an itchy vagina and pain when peeing.

Vaginitis can usually be treated with antifungal medicines or antibiotics, depending on the cause.

Common causes of vaginitis include thrush, bacterial vaginosis, perfumed soaps, bubble bath and some sexually transmitted infections.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of vaginitis include abnormal vaginal discharge, an itchy vagina and pain when peeing.

Symptoms of vaginitis

Symptoms include:

A strong, unpleasant smell, particularly after sex, can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, which can sometimes cause vaginitis.

Read more on the NHS website.

Vaginitis can usually be treated with antifungal medicines or antibiotics, depending on the cause.

Medical treatments

Treatment for vaginitis depends on what's causing it.

Yeast infections, such as vaginal thrush, are usually treated with antifungal medicines, and bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics.

Vaginal atrophy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended if you have vaginitis that's caused by vaginal atrophy (thinning of the lining of the vagina after the menopause). HRT replaces the female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.

Creams, pessaries or vaginal tablets that contain oestrogen are also available. Unlike HRT, they only restore oestrogen to your vagina rather than to your whole body, reducing the risk of side effects.

Self-care

To help improve your vaginitis, you should:

  • keep your genital area clean and dry – take a warm bath rather than a hot one and use unperfumed soap to clean your genital area (the vagina cleans itself with natural secretions); dry yourself thoroughly
  • avoid douching (spraying water inside your vagina) – it may make your vaginitis symptoms worse by removing the healthy bacteria that line the vagina and help keep it free from infection
  • not use feminine hygiene products – such as sprays, deodorants or powders
  • use pads rather than tampons if you're using intravaginal creams or pessaries to treat an infection – tampons may "soak up" the treatment, meaning there's less available in the vagina 
  • wear loose-fitting cotton underwear – this may be beneficial if you have external soreness, but does not prevent getting vaginitis in the future

Read more on the NHS website.

Common causes of vaginitis include thrush, bacterial vaginosis, perfumed soaps, bubble bath and some sexually transmitted infections.

Read more on the NHS website.