Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vaginal tissue due to infection, contact dermatitis or irritation from chemicals, immune disorder or in rare cases vaginal cancer. Often patients notice itching, unusual vaginal discharge discomfort, and swelling which often improve with over the counter medications. It is especially important to seek medical care if symptoms are persistent and not improving with over medications to ensure timely evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of a potentially more serious problem.
Bacterial Vaginosis -is caused by Gardenella bacteria, trichamonas, Ureaplasma or mycoplasma infection. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections can also cause inflammation. Simple home remedy for infectious vaginitis – a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water daily.
Yeast Vaginitis – Yeast vaginitis is caused by yeast or fungus. These infections occur more often if there is hormonal imbalance, excessive intake of sugar and carbohydrates, or detergents and soaps that destroy Lactobacillus (“the good bacteria”). Eating Yogurt or taking a probiotic supplement may help replenish lactobacillus, good the vaginal flora.
If you have persistent irritation after using medication for vaginitis, the problem may be due to harsh detergents and soaps used. It is recommended that you switch to mild detergents that are fragrance free. Sometimes a mild or moderate steroid cream is needed to decrease the inflammation and rest the nerves.
Intense and persistent itching may be due to autoimmune inflammation. There are three main types of autoimmune inflammatory vulvar and vaginal itching. Lichen planus, Lichen sclerosus. Autoimmune inflammation is more common in women around 45-65 years of age. Definitive diagnosis requires biopsy and evaluation by a pathologist. Autoimmune dermatitis can be successfully treated with moderate strength steroid cream and other topical creams. Now there is research showing that other modalities such as PRP treatment and other forms of collagen induction can help treat these disorders.
Very rarely, persistent itch may be due to precancerous changes in the tissue affected. This is especially concerning in women 45-65 years of age who do not see response to treatment with antibiotics and steroid creams. Biopsy is recommended for these women to accurately diagnose the issue and avoid potential progression to vulvar or vaginal cancer. Fortunately these cancers are rare and have fairly good response to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
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