Vaginitis is the inflammation of the vagina causing discharge, itching and pain.  This is caused by imbalance of normal bacteria or infection.  This can also be due to decreased levels estrogen after menopause.

Types of Vaginitis

The most common kinds are:

  • Bacterial vaginosis, the overgrowth of the normal bacteria present in the vagina
  • Candida or “yeast” infections
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Reactions or allergies (non-infectious vaginitis)
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Viral vaginitis
  • Atrophic vaginitis, due to reduced estrogen

Although they may have different symptoms, a diagnosis can be tricky even for an experienced doctor. Part of the problem is that you could have more than one at the same time.

You could also have an infection without any symptoms.

Vaginitis signs and symptoms may include:

  • Change in color, odor or amount of discharge from your vagina
  • Vaginal itching or irritation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Light vaginal bleeding or spotting

The characteristics of vaginal discharge may indicate the type of vaginitis you have. Examples include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis. You may develop a grayish-white, foul-smelling discharge. The odor, often described as fish-like, may be more obvious after sexual intercourse.
  • Yeast infection. The main symptom is itching, but you may have a white, thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
  • Trichomoniasis. An infection called trichomoniasis (trik-o-moe-NIE-uh-sis) can cause a greenish yellow, sometimes frothy discharge.

To diagnose vaginitis, your doctor may:

  • Review your medical history, including your history of vaginal or sexually transmitted infections.
  • Perform a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, your doctor may collect a sample of cervical or vaginal discharge for lab testing to confirm what kind of vaginitis you have.




Oral, injectable, and topical medications are used to treat the various causes of vaginal discharge.

  • Trichomonas infection: A number of medications may be effective in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, including metronidazole, tinidazole, and clindamycin
  • Gonorrhea: Treated by an injection of ceftriaxone intramuscularly or by oral cefixime. Other antibiotics may also be used.
  • Chlamydia: is typically treated by oral azithromycin or doxycycline
  • Vaginal yeast infections can be treated by topical creams such as butoconazol, clotrimazole, miconazole, and terconazole. Nystatin is also available in vaginal tablet form. Oral medications such as fluconazole can also be used if necessary.

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