By Dr. Anuradha Tamaria, Gynaecology
Vaginal infections or vaginitis is the condition in which the vagina gets inflamed due to bacterial action. It results in excess vaginal discharge, pain and itching in the genital area. Another cause that can be attributed to vaginal infections is the reduced levels of estrogen after menopause occurs. Vaginal infections can be of several types depending on the factor that causes them.
Types and Causes:
The most common types of vaginal infections and their causes are.
1. Bacterial vaginosis
It is a result of an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina. It may occur in women who are not sexually active, but in most cases it is caused in women who have multiple sex partners.
2. Yeast Infection
It is caused due to overgrowth of the fungus called C.albicians in the vagina. This fungus is so potentially dangerous that it can cause infections not only in the vagina but in any other parts of the body that are moist, for instance, the mouth, nail beds and skin folds.
It is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, which is a single-celled microscopic parasite.
4. Vaginal Atrophy
This infection is mostly caused due to reduced estrogen levels after menopause.
5. Non-infectious Vaginitis
Apart from bacterial and parasitic organisms, certain external sources like vaginal sprays, perfumed soaps, douches, spermicides and scented detergents can also cause vaginal infections as they lead to allergy and reactions that are irritable to the vaginal tissues.
Tips on prevention:
Here are a few tips on how maintaining good hygiene can help you in preventing vaginal infections.
1. Avoid using bath tubs with scented soaps and whirlpool spas
Rinse thoroughly after cleaning your outer genital area with soap and dry it as well in order to prevent irritation. Also, avoid using harsh scented soaps and other irritants to prevent the risk of vaginal infections.
2. Avoid Douching
Repetitive douching can encourage vaginal infections as it disrupts the normal state of the vagina. So it should be avoided.
3. Maintain Hygiene
You should maintain good hygiene as far as your genital area is concerned. Wipe and clean it after using the toilet and try using undergarments made of cotton as frequently as possible.