Vaginitis (also known as bacterial vaginosis) is an inflammatory condition of vagina occurring as a result of infection by many strains of germ.
Like yeast infection in vagina, vaginitis is considered as one of the most common vaginal infections because it affects 64 percent of women at a time.
In absence of timely treatment vaginitis may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and several other serious conditions like endometritis and cervicitis.
Although vaginitis may affect women in any age, yet it has been found to be frequent during reproductive years. Vaginitis not only causes redness and inflammation in vagina but also affects urethra and bladder.
Causes of vaginitis
Vaginitis is primarily caused by overgrowing Anaerobic (a type of bacteria) and Gardnerella organism in vagina. Although both Anaerobic and Gardnerella organism remain present in healthy vagina, their overgrowth causes imbalance in vagina affecting the normal function of another protective bacterium called lactobacilli. Lactobacilli are responsible for providing a natural disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide, thus helping in ensuring balance of the vaginal microorganisms.
E. coli which normally exists in rectum may lead to bacterial vaginitis when it spreads into the vagina.
Sometimes the intra-uterine device which is used for controlling birth leads to vaginitis.
Hot weather, lack of cleanliness and other illnesses may also contribute to vaginitis.
Moreover regular vaginal douching causes vaginitis.
Women experiencing menopause are at the higher risk of developing bacterial vaginitis. Even diabetic women and those with low resistance due to other conditions are susceptible to vaginitis.
Symptoms of bacterial vaginitis
An unpleasant odor in vagina similar to smell of fish is considered to be the most apparent sign of vaginitis.
Vaginitis may also be accompanied by itching or burning sensation in vagina.
Sometimes women remain unaware of vaginal infection in them till they undergo diagnosis through regular pelvic test and Pap smear.
How to prevent vaginitis?
The first and foremost requirement to prevent vaginitis is prevention of the entry of rectal E. coli into vagina. You can do this by proper wiping from front to back immediately after bowel movement.
Avoid vaginal douching as it may cause imbalance in natural organisms in vagina resulting in infection.
Maintain cleanliness in your vaginal area. Use antibacterial cleanser for washing your vagina especially after having sex. After washing, dry up the vaginal area altogether considering that any moisture content might breed bacteria.
Prefer to wear loose clothing. It would be better to use cotton panties of white color as it helps in absorption of moisture besides allowing air circulation.
Make sure that while having sex you have taken safety measures. Use condom for prevention of vaginal infection.