Gynecology

Ask Sofia: How Do I Know if I Have Vaginitis?

Vaginitis is a broad term that refers to an infection or inflammation of the vagina. If you’re experiencing itching, burning during urination, discharge with unusual odor or discomfort during sex, you may have vaginitis. Yeast infections, for example, are one type of vaginitis. The causes of vaginitis vary, including an imbalance in vaginal bacteria, a viral infection, reduced estrogen levels after menopause, irritation from lotions or clothing, sexual contact or another type of infection. Additional risk factors can include hormonal changes (associated with pregnancy, menopause or birth control), sexual activity, wearing damp clothing and some medications.

While some cases will clear up on their own, it is important to call or see a doctor if you have any concerns, if you have a fever or particularly unpleasant odor, or if you’ve never had a vaginal infection before. Likewise, if you are pregnant, you will want to seek treatment to avoid any potential complications. To prevent vaginitis, wear loose clothing with natural fibers, eat a balanced diet that includes yogurt, avoid frequent visits to hot tubs, avoid douching and change out of wet clothing (swimsuits, workout clothes) as soon as possible.

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