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Vaginitis treatment requires an accurate diagnosis, since different types of vaginitis need different treatments. Once the cause is identified, proper treatment can begin. Possible vaginitis treatment options include antibiotics, creams, and suppositories. It's important to take the treatment exactly as prescribed by the doctor and to not stop just because symptoms go away. This may prolong the course of the infection or cause it to recur.

Vaginitis Treatment: An Overview

The key to proper vaginitis treatment is proper diagnosis. This is not always easy, since the same symptoms can exist in different forms of vaginitis. You can greatly assist your healthcare practitioner by paying close attention to exactly which symptoms you have and when they occur. Being able to describe the color, consistency, amount, and smell of any abnormal discharge is also helpful.
Do not douche before your visit to the doctor's office or clinic. Douching will make it difficult -- if not impossible -- to get accurate test results.
Because different types of vaginitis have different causes, the treatment needs to be specific to the type of vaginitis present.

Vaginitis Treatment Based on Specific Causes

The following sections describe vaginitis treatment options based upon the specific cause of the condition.
Yeast Infection
When a woman's doctor diagnoses her with a yeast infection, she is usually treated with a prescription for a vaginal cream or suppositories. If the infection clears up for a period of time but then the exact same symptoms recur, a woman can obtain -- with her doctor or pharmacist's advice -- a vaginal cream or suppository without a prescription that often completely treats the infection.
The important thing to understand is that this medication may only cure the most common types of Candida associated with vaginal yeast infections, and will not cure other yeast infections or any other type of vaginitis. If you are not absolutely sure that you have a yeast infection, see your doctor. You may save the expense of buying the wrong medication and avoid delay in treating your type of vaginitis.
When obtaining these over-the-counter medicines, be sure to read all of the instructions completely before using the product. Be sure to use all of the medicine, and don't stop just because your symptoms have gone away.
Be sure to see your healthcare provider if:
  • All of the symptoms do not go away completely
  • The symptoms return immediately or shortly after you finish treatment
  • You have any other serious medical problems, such as diabetes
  • You might be pregnant.
Infectious Vaginitis (Bacterial Vaginosis, Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, and Viral Vaginitis)
Other forms of infectious vaginitis are caused by organisms that need to be treated with oral medication and/or a vaginal cream prescribed by your doctor.
Products available without a prescription will probably not be effective. As with all medicine, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions, as well as the instructions that come with the medication. Do not stop taking the medicine when your symptoms go away.
Do not be embarrassed to ask your doctor or healthcare provider any questions you might have.
Good questions to ask include:
  • Is it okay to douche while on this vaginal cream?
  • Should I abstain from sexual intercourse during treatment?
  • Should my sexual partner(s) be treated at the same time?
  • Will the medication for this vaginitis agree with my other medication(s)?
  • Should I continue the vaginal cream or suppositories during my period?
  • Do I need to be reexamined and, if so, when?
Noninfectious Vaginitis
Noninfectious vaginitis (meaning it was not caused by bacteria, a virus, or yeast) is treated by changing the probable cause. If you have recently changed your soap or laundry detergent or have added a fabric softener, you might consider stopping the new product to see if the symptoms remain. The same instruction would apply to a new vaginal spray, douche, sanitary napkin, or tampon.
If the vaginitis is due to hormonal changes, such as menopause or surgery to remove the ovaries, estrogen may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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