Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina. It is often caused by infections, some of which are associated with serious diseases. The most common vaginal infections are
Some vaginal infections are transmitted through sexual contact, but others, such as yeast infections, probably are not.
Although most vaginal infections in women are due to bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, or yeast, there may be other causes as well. These causes include other sexually transmitted diseases, allergic reactions, and irritations.
Allergic symptoms can be caused by spermicides, vaginal hygiene products, detergents, and fabric softeners. Inflammation of the cervix (opening to the womb) also is associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. Healthcare providers can tell them apart from true vaginal infections by doing lab tests.
To control vaginitis, research is under way to determine the factors that promote the growth and disease-causing potential of vaginal microbes (germs). This information could help improve efforts to treat and prevent vaginitis. Vaginitis is the object of serious studies as scientists try to clarify its role in such conditions as pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancy-related complications.
More about NIAID Research on Vaginitis
Last Updated April 23, 2015