Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
By Dr. Ben
is a condition that often goes unaddressed by women and their health
care providers due to many people often feeling embarrassed about
it. Vaginitis is also frequently misdiagnosed as a urinary tract
infection, which can leave a woman unaware of lifestyle factors
that are chronic, recurrent causes of vaginitis.
exactly is vaginitis? By definition, it is an inflammatory condition
of the mucosal lining of the vagina. A urinary tract infection,
on the other hand, is an infection found in any part of the genitourinary
(GU) system; the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra
are the four major regions of the GU system where a urinary tract
infection can take place.
diagnostic and treatment purposes, vaginitis is typically classified
into one of the following three categories:
Vaginitis - represents approximately 90 percent of all
cases of vaginitis in women who are of reproductive age. Infectious
vaginitis is typically caused by bacterial overgrowth, yeast overgrowth,
an infection by a protozoan called Trichimonas vaginalis, or various
sexually transmitted organisms.
Vaginitis - caused by allergic-type reactions to condoms,
spermicides, topical medications, tampons, soaps, perfumes, douches,
Vaginitis - most often occurs in postpartum or postmenopausal
women in the form of atrophic (thinning) vaginitis. Hormonal vaginitis
can also occur in prepubescent girls due to endocrine system imbalance.
three categories of vaginitis can produce the following symptoms:
and/or irritation of the genital region
in the perineal area (area between vagina and anal sphincter)
of the labia majora and labia minora - sometimes, redness in
these areas can be hidden by pubic hair
sensation or other type of discomfort when urinating
a woman is in good overall health and is able to address the root
cause(s) of vaginitis, the symptoms can gradually diminish on their
own. On the other hand, if a case of vaginitis is caused by an infectious
organism and the woman doesn't take measures to recover, such an
infection can lead to permanent health challenges. For example,
a young girl who experiences vaginitis that progresses to a urinary
tract infection can potentially experience permanent renal damage
if the infectious process is able to travel up to the kidneys. Another
example would be chlamydia-induced vaginitis progressing to an infection
of the fallopian tubes and/or the ovaries, a situation that could
result in infertility.
Of And Treatment For Vaginitis
cases of chronic, recurrent vaginitis can be attributed to a lack
of proper hygienic care of the genital, perineal, and anal sphincter
regions. Girls and women of all ages should always wipe from front
to back after having a bowel movement. Infant girls should also
be wiped from front to back when being cleaned after a bowel movement.
Wiping from back to front can transfer undesirable organisms from
the anal region to the vagina and is in my clinical experience,
a common cause of chronic, recurrent vaginitis.
the same reason as cited in the paragraph above, it is important
to ensure that a woman's sexual partner does not make contact
with her anal region and then make subsequent contact with her
vaginal region. Because this topic can be embarrassing to discuss,
it is often another overlooked cause of chronic, recurrent infectious
vaginitis that is caused by yeast overgrowth is best addressed
by limiting or completely avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Regular intake of beneficial
bacteria and raw garlic can also be helpful for Candida-induced
vaginitis. Unless faced with a life or limb-threatening situation,
antibiotics should be avoided, as prolonged intake of antibiotics
can disrupt a woman's flora enough for yeast overgrowth and Candida-induced
vaginitis to occur.
potential for sexually transmitted organisms to cause vaginitis
is one of many good health-related reasons to experience sex only
in a mutually monogamous relationship.
any number of synthetic chemicals and materials can induce an
allergic-type reaction along the mucosal lining of the vagina,
the best approach to treating all cases of irritant vaginitis
is to avoid having synthetic chemicals and materials contact the
vagina whenever possible.
soaps should never be used to clean the vagina area. A plain,
unscented soap like ivory can be used to clean around the genital
region, but should not make contact with the actual mucosal lining
of the vaginal canal; all mucosal linings are best cleaned with
water only, as soap will dry out mucosal linings that are meant
to stay moist.
bath and other scented products should not be added to bath water.
hygiene sprays should be avoided, as should contraceptive foams
tampon use should be avoided if possible, as tampons can dry out
and irritate the mucosal lining of the vagina, just as soap can.
postpartal and postmenopausal cases of hormonal vaginitis, the
best first approach is to ensure that the woman is not experiencing
dominance. After addressing lifestyle factors in a way that
ensures a healthy balance between estrogen and progesterone levels,
if possible, it is best to engage in sexual intercourse (in a
mutually monogamous relationship) with a natural, non-toxic lubricant
on a regular basis. Regular coitus can help to stimulate blood
flow and nutrients to the mucosal lining of the vaginal wall,
which in turn, can help to add thickness, strength, and elasticity
to this region.
prepubescent girls who experience hormonal vaginitis, avoiding
synthetic hormones found in factory farmed animal products is
perhaps the single most important step to take to ensure that
the foods they are eating are not contributing to endocrine dysfunction.
Significant emotional stressors should also be explored and addressed
in a safe environment, possibly with a professional therapist.
Finally, prepubescent girls should make every effort to avoid
the use of synthetic chemicals and materials in and around their
vaginal regions. In cases where menses has commenced, it be may
worth the effort of using cloth pads rather than synthetic ones
that may be laced with materials and chemicals that increase absorbancy.
all three categories of vaginitis, in some cases, the use of conventional
medical creams can reduce discomfort and accelerate recovery time.
Even so, it is in the best interest of every person who experiences
vaginitis to be aware of all of the major causes of vaginitis described
in this article.
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