Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina)

What causes vaginitis?

There are several possible causes:

  • Infection — Candida trachomatis is a common cause of infection. In addition, the bacteria that normally inhabit the vagina can multiply for unknown reasons and cause a strong-smelling vaginal discharge. This is known as non-specific vaginitis.
  • Allergic reaction — this may be caused by spermicidal creams, bath oils or soaps.
  • Hormone deficiency — after the menopause, the lining of the vagina becomes thinner and drier and more prone to inflammation. This inflammation is called atrophic vaginitis and is due to a reduction in the production of oestrogen and progesterone hormones.
  • Foreign body in the vagina — a forgotten tampon, for example.

How is vaginitis treated?

Infections are treated with antibiotic or antifungal drugs. If allergy is determined to be the cause, you should avoid the allergen — for example, change brands of soap. Atrophic vaginitis is treated with oestrogen drugs, either locally applied as a cream or in tablet form.