What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis or when the vaginal mucosa becomes inflamed
Vaginitis is one of the main reasons for gynaecological consultation. It is thus estimated that its prevalence among women may be greater than 50%.
In this sense, it should be noted that there are abundant bacteria and microorganisms in the normal vaginal flora that fulfil a protective function and that form a ‘vaginal ecosystem’. Disrupted balance can be the first step in starting a vaginal infection.
When a woman has a vaginal infection, the mucosa and sometimes also the vulvar skin, become inflamed. Hence, this condition is sometimes known as vulvovaginitis.
The truth is that since it is a very frequent alteration in women, it can affect them at different times in their lives, especially in childhood, during pregnancy or after menopause.
The factors that cause vaginitis include age, hormonal changes (menstrual cycles, pregnancy, sexual activity), systemic diseases and external factors such as taking antibiotics for a long time, inadequate hygiene habits, etc.
Diabetes and skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis also favour the appearance of vulvovaginitis.
The symptoms of vaginal infections include changes in the colour, odour or amount of vaginal discharge, itching or irritation in the intimate area, pain during intercourse or urination and light bleeding or spotting.
Therefore, should any of these signs appear, it is advisable to suspect a vulvovaginitis problem and seek medical attention.
The different types of vaginal infections
There are different types of vaginal infections depending on what is causing it.
- Bacterial vaginosis. This is the most frequent and appears when the bacteria normally found in the vagina undergo changes and some of them grow excessively.
- Candida vaginitis. This occurs when there is an abnormal growth of a fungus, known as candida, inside the vagina.
- Trichomoniasis. A sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite, popularly known as <<ladillas>>.
- Non-infectious vaginitis. They include all inflammations of the vagina and/or vulva caused by an allergic reaction or irritation of the tissues. The main causes of this type of vaginitis are poor habits in intimate care and hygiene and the use of inappropriate products or those that are too aggressive with this delicate area.
- Vaginal atrophy. Reduced oestrogen levels in postmenopausal women cause a thin vaginal mucosa. As a consequence, vaginitis can appear with vaginal burning, irritation or dryness.
Although, as mentioned, it is a frequent condition in women. Remember that intimate care and hygiene that respects the vaginal flora greatly help to prevent vaginitis and other intimate infections.