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Vaginitis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Vaginitis

is an inflammation or infection of your vagina. The most common causes are bacteria, a virus, or fungus. Chemicals in bubble baths, soaps, or perfumes can also cause vaginitis. An infection can spread during sexual activity. You may also develop vaginitis from a foreign object in your vagina, such as rolled up toilet paper left over from wiping.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Pain, itching, redness, burning, or swelling in your vagina
  • An odor from your vagina that may be foul or smell like fish
  • Thick, curd-like discharge
  • Thin, gray-white discharge
  • Small skin tears or chafing
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain when you urinate

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have abdominal pain.
  • Your symptoms get worse, even after treatment.
  • Your symptoms return.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Antifungals are used to treat a fungal infection. They may be given as a cream, gel, or tablet you insert into your vagina.
  • Antibiotics are used to fight an infection caused by bacteria.

Manage vaginitis:

  • Use a sitz bath to ease your symptoms. A sitz bath is a portable tub that fits into the toilet basin. You can also soak in a bathtub that has 4 to 6 inches of warm water. Stay in the sitz bath or tub for 15 to 20 minutes. Ask your healthcare provider how often to do this.
  • Do not use douches other irritating products in your vagina. Examples include bubble baths and perfumed soaps. The vagina is delicate and easily irritated. Ask your healthcare provider if it is okay to use tampons during your monthly periods. You may need to use pads instead until your symptoms go away.
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes or undergarments. These can make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not have sex until your symptoms go away. When you have sex, always use a condom. Condoms can help protect you from contact with fluids from your partner that may be causing your vaginitis.

Prevent vaginitis:

  • Wash your vagina each day. Use mild soap and warm water. Gently dry the area or let it air dry after you wash.
  • Wipe from front to back. Do this after you urinate or have a bowel movement. This will prevent germs from getting into your vagina.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Vaginitis (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

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