Vaginitis is a swelling or infection of the vulva and vagina. It may also be called vulvovaginitis.
Vaginitis is a common problem that can affect women and girls of all ages. It can be caused by:
Keep your genital area clean and dry when you have vaginitis.
Avoid douching. Many women feel cleaner when they douche, but it may actually worsen symptoms because it removes healthy bacteria that line the vagina. These bacteria help protect against infection.
Other tips are:
Allow more air to reach your genital area. You can do this by:
Girls and women should also:
Always practice safe sex, and use condoms to avoid catching or spreading infections.
Creams or suppositories are used to treat yeast infections in the vagina. You can buy most of them without a prescription at drugstores, some grocery stores, and other stores.
Treating yourself at home is probably safe if:
Follow the directions that came with the medicine you are using.
Some medicine to treat yeast infections is used for only 1 day. If you do not get yeast infections often, a 1-day medicine might work for you.
Your health care provider can also prescribe a medicine called fluconazole. This medicine is a pill that you take once by mouth.
For more severe symptoms, you may need to use the yeast medicine for up to 14 days. For frequent yeast infections, your health care provider may suggest using medicine for yeast infections every week to prevent infections.
If you are taking antibiotics for another infection, eating yogurt with live cultures or taking Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements may help prevent a yeast infection.
Call your health care provider if:
Vulvovaginitis - self-care
Merritt DF. Vulvovaginitis. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 543.
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome,endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 23.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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