Vaginitis is an infection or inflammation that occurs in the vagina. This condition is generally accompanied by indications of the appearance of whiteness, discoloration and the amount of whiteness experienced, the odor generated, irritation or itching of the vagina, pain during sex or urination, and spots or mild bleeding. However, there are also people who may feel other symptoms, such as odor in the vagina (especially after sex) or even not feel the symptoms.
Vaginitis can be handled alone without a doctor, especially if it already recognizes the symptoms because it had experienced vaginitis and fully recovered. However, if you feel unusual symptoms or changes in the vagina, consultation with a doctor should be done. Specifically if:
- Never had a vaginal infection.
- Feel different symptoms with vaginal infections that have been experienced.
- Having sex with more than 1 person. Symptoms of vaginitis are sometimes similar to sexually transmitted diseases .
- Mangalami fever, chills, or pain in the pelvis.
- Still having a vaginal infection despite using over-the-counter antifungal drugs.
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Causes of Vaginitis
The type of vaginitis is determined based on its causes which can be in large part:
- Fungal or bacterial infections. Under normal conditions, the vagina does have a small portion of fungal or bacterial cells without causing any disturbance. But the infection will occur if the fungus or bacteria breed uncontrollably.
- Sexually transmitted diseases, such as trichomoniasis , chlamydia , and genital herpes .
- Irritation due to chemicals, for example because of the content of soap, clothes deodorizer, or condoms that trigger an allergic reaction.
- Wash the inside of the vagina.
- Vaginal atrophy, ie thinning of the vaginal wall due to decreased estrogen levels after menopause.
Risk Factors Vaginitis
In addition to the various causes, there are many other factors that can increase a woman's risk for developing vaginitis. These risk factors include:
- Hormonal changes, such as menopause , pregnancy, or use of the contraceptive pill.
- Active sex, especially if you have more than 1 partner.
- Have sexually transmitted diseases.
- Side effects of drugs, such as antibiotics and steroids.
- Diabetes that is not handled properly.
- Using intimate area cleaning products, such as betel soap.
- Wear damp or tight clothing.
Diagnosis of Vaginitis
The first step in the process of diagnosis of vaginitis is to ask the symptoms experienced, medical history of patients, and check the condition of the vagina. The doctor will then take a sample of vaginal fluid to be examined in the laboratory for the cause to be detected.
The pH balance ( acid or base atmosphere) of the vagina will also be examined. Increased pH levels may indicate a bacterial vaginosis .
Treatment of Vaginitis
After confirming the diagnosis, the doctor will apply a method of treatment based on the cause of vaginitis. Treatment steps usually include:
- Antibiotics. Based on the National Guidelines for Sexually Transmitted Infections, metronidazole is the drug of choice for treating cases of bacterial vaginitis. Metronidazole may be given as a single dose or taken twice daily for 1 week. Patients who consume metronidazole is not advised to consume alcohol, because it can cause harmful side effects.
- Anti-Fungus. For fungal vaginitis, various antifungal treatments such as miconazole , clotrimazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole may be prescribed by a physician. Specifically these last two drugs should not be given to pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children under 12 years old.
- Hormone replacement therapy. If vaginitis is caused by a decrease in estrogen, doctors will recommend hormone replacement therapy to replace the body's natural hormone estrogen. While in the treatment of vaginitis due to allergic reactions to chemicals, the doctor will advise patients to avoid the substance trigger allergies. Doctors will also occasionally administer oestrogens to relieve symptoms of vaginitis.
- Keeping the vagina and surrounding areas clean and dry. Use soap without deodorant and wipe it completely dry. Avoid warm soaking baths as long as the infection has not fully recovered.
- Do not wash the inside of the vagina.
- Use cold water compress to reduce discomfort in the vagina.
- Wear underwear that is not tight and made from cotton.