The vagina remains in good health if things remain stable and friendly, but since it exposes an internal part of a woman’s body to the outside world, it is at risk for infection. Vaginitis is the word used to describe an irritation of the vagina.
The most common three conditions resulting in vaginitis are, in order of frequency:
Bacterial vaginosis (BV)—from bacteria
Yeast vaginitis—from fungus
Trichomonas vaginitis—from a protozoan
When it is a bacterial infection, this usually entails a change in the vagina’s internal environment, swapping out the beneficial lactobacilli for an overgrowth of the invader. It is the good lactobacilli bacteria of the vagina which help it maintain its acidic environment so it will be hostile to infections, except for yeast.
I explore this ahead of the others, because yeast infection is the first thing suspected by a woman when she begins symptoms that involve burning, itching, redness, ...
Vaginitis, inflammation of and around (vulvovaginitis) the vagina is no beauty contest. There are no winners. But there is a hierarchy of prevalence, however. The numbers 1, 2, and 3 causes of vaginitis, in that order are:
Bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial change in the normal vaginal flora that results in irritating breakdown products of the vagina’s natural sugars.
Yeast vaginitis, a fungus—usually Candida.
Trichomonas, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can present with symptoms in both a woman and her partner.
These make up 90% of vaginal irritations, resulting in inflammation, itching, redness, pain, sexual discomfort, and painful urination. The other 10%? They are less common, but not rare:
By this is meant chemicals that are harsh irritants to the vagina. Antifungal creams and suppositories can be too harsh for the delicate vaginal tissue. Vaginal tissue doesn’t have a number of layers of dead cells to buffer them li ...