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Causes of Vaginitis

Chlamydia
Another form of vaginitis that is transmitted primarily through sexual contact is caused by the germ known as Chlamydia trachomatis. Unfortunately, most women do not have symptoms of chlamydia, which makes diagnosis difficult.
A vaginal discharge is sometimes present with this infection, but not always. More often, a woman might experience light bleeding -- especially after intercourse. She may have pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis. Chlamydial vaginitis is most common in young women (18 to 35 years) who have multiple sex partners. If you fit this description, you should request screening for chlamydia during your annual checkup.
The best "treatment" for chlamydia is prevention. Using a condom will decrease your risk of contracting not only chlamydia, but other sexually transmitted diseases as well.
Viral Vaginitis
Viruses are a common cause of vaginitis. One form caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is often just called herpes infection. These infections are also spread by sexual intimacy.
The primary symptom of herpes vaginitis is pain associated with lesions (sores). These sores are usually visible on the vulva or the vagina, but occasionally are inside the vagina, and can only be seen during a gynecologic exam. Outbreaks of HSV are often associated with stress or emotional upheaval.
Another source of viral vaginal infection is the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can also be transmitted by sexual intercourse.
This virus can cause painful warts to grow in the vagina, rectum, vulva, or groin. These warts are usually white to gray in color, but they may be pink or purple. However, visible warts are not always present, and the virus may only be detected when a Pap smear is abnormal.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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