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Symptoms of Vaginitis

Symptoms of vaginitis include itching and burning in or around the vagina. Other symptoms can include an abnormal discharge that may have an unpleasant odor. However, some women have no symptoms of an infection at all.

Treatment Options

Vaginitis treatment requires an accurate diagnosis, since different types of vaginitis need different treatments. Once the cause is identified, proper treatment can begin.
Once started, the medication should be used exactly as your doctor prescribes in order to cure the vaginitis. The symptoms may go away before you finish the medication. Even so, you should complete the therapy to help ensure a cure.
Be sure to ask your healthcare provider any questions you might have about your treatment. Open communication and clear understanding can help you take an active role in maintaining your health.

Vaginitis: A Summary

Key points to keep in mind about vaginitis are as follows:
  • Vaginitis is a medical term that describes an infection or irritation of the vagina and/or vulva by yeast, bacteria, viruses, other organisms, or chemical irritants.
  • When present, the symptoms of different types of vaginitis can overlap, sometimes making diagnosis difficult. In addition, more than one cause of vaginitis can be present at the same time in the same woman.
  • Good health habits are important. Have a complete gynecologic exam, including a Pap smear, at least every two years. If you have multiple sexual partners, you should request screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Proper diagnosis by your doctor or healthcare practitioner is the key to proper treatment. Yeast, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms each require a specific type of therapy. Using the wrong medication will not help and will only delay proper treatment.
  • Not all vaginitis is caused by yeast. The use of a nonprescription medication or other treatment may make the proper diagnosis more difficult if yeast is not the cause of the infection.
  • Some forms of vaginitis are sexually transmitted and can co-exist with other, more serious sexually transmitted diseases. The proper use of condoms can be helpful in preventing some forms of vaginitis.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions exactly when treating your vaginal infection. If your symptoms do not clear completely, or if they recur, see your doctor or healthcare practitioner for further instructions.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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