One of the most common reason women come to the gynecologist office is for vaginal infections. Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina and it affects women of all ages.
A small amount of clear or cloudy white fluid passes from the vagina daily to keep the tissue lubricated and healthy. The amount and consistency will change through out the month with your menstrual cycle.
Organisms like yeast and bacteria live in the vagina, they are important for normal function. When this balance is altered the result can be either a yeast infection (fungus) or bacterial vaginosis causing annoying symptoms like itching, burning, bad odor, red & swollen tissue, and large amounts of discharge.
Common causes of vaginitis:
- Changes in hormone levels
- Sexual intercourse
Ways to reduce the risk of getting vaginitis:
- Do NOT use feminine hygiene sprays or scented tampons/panty liners
- Do NOT douche! Let the vagina clean itself
- Use plain warm water to clean the vulva. Soaps change the normal balance of organisms inside the vagina
- Use condoms during sex. Urinate after sex.
- Thoroughly clean diaphragms, or anything else you may insert into vagina
- Check with your Gyno about preventing yeast infections if you are on antibiotics
Your Gyno or WHNP can prescribe medications for these infections or suggest over the counter treatments. Pregnant and nursing women can also be treated for vaginitis. From your friendly neighborhood nurse.