What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis, also called vulvovaginitis, is a common condition in which there is inflammation of the vagina and vulva. Vaginitis can result in vaginal discomfort, such as irritation and heavy vaginal discharge.

Vaginitis can be caused by an infection or by noninfectious causes. In many cases, vaginitis can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. Treatment varies depending on the underlying cause.

Some underlying causes of vaginitis, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and genital herpes, can lead to serious complications if untreated. Complications include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and serious complications of pregnancy and the newborn. Using safer sex practices, seeking regular medical care, and seeking early, regular prenatal care can help reduce the risk of serious complications of underlying causes of vaginitis.


What are the symptoms of vaginitis?

The symptoms of vaginitis result from the inflammation of the moist, sensitive mucosa of the vagina and vulva. Symptoms vary in character and intensity depending on the underlying cause of the vaginitis and individual factors.

General symptoms of infectious or noninfectious vaginitis can include:


What causes vaginitis?

Vaginitis can be caused by an infection or by noninfectious causes. Infectious causes of vaginitis include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis, an overgrowth of the bacteria gardnerella, which normally live in the vagina

  • Chlamydia

  • Genital herpes

  • Gonorrhea

  • Poo... Read more about vaginitiscauses


How is vaginitis treated?

Treatment of vaginitis begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows your health care professional to best assess your risks of developing vaginitis and promptly order diagnostic testing as needed. These measures greatly increase the chances of diagnosing and treating underlying causes of vaginitis in their earliest, most curable stages.

... Read more about vaginitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.