Vaginal infections are often uncomfortable and can cause an abundance of unwanted symptoms. As an osteopathic physician, Dr. Neetu K. Sodhi of Bloom Obstetrics and Gynecology specializes in the prevention and treatment of vaginal infections. She serves women in Tarzana, CA and surrounding Los Angeles area.

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What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina. In most cases, it is a symptom of an infection of the vagina. Vulvovaginitis, is an inflammation of the vagina and vulva. Infection can result in discharge, itching and pain.

The three main causes of vaginitis are infections by bacteria (bacterial vaginosis), yeast (vaginal candidiasis), or the protozoan that causes trichomoniasis. If experiencing extreme symptoms, you may also have have multiple infections at any one time.

What causes vaginitis?

Just like most of your other body parts, the vagina has its own balanced microflora- the bacteria that is normally found in the vagina. To maintain this microflora Dr. Sodhi recommends that most women avoid douching, avoid fragrant feminine products, use a daily specialty pre- and pro-biotic or have a diet rich in fibrous and fermented foods and dairy with live active cultures, along with other feminine hygiene tips.

When the delicate microclimate of the vagina shifts, certain bacteria are allowed to overgrow and lead to infection. Frequent intercourse can shift the vaginal microclimate as well as low levels of estrogen that occur during menopause, leading to increased risk of vaginitis.

BV is usually caused by an overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis. Yeast infections are another form of vaginal infection. For those with a yeast infection, this is caused by overgrowth of candida albicans or other candida strains, which is a form of vaginal fungus. Before puberty, strep is the most common cause of vaginal infection. Trichomonas vaginalis is a very common sexually transmitted protozoan parasite.

Conditions that lead to a higher risk of vaginitis:

  • Pregnancy
  • Wearing tight pants/bottoms or damp underwear
  • Vaginal products (i.e. douching, sprays, spermicides, etc.)
  • Frequent sexual intercourse
  • Antibiotics
  • Low estrogen (menopause)
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes

How to diagnose and treat vaginitis?

It is important to come in for a consultation with Dr. Sodhi if you are experiencing vaginitis symptoms. She can review your habits to determine any opportunity for prevention of further infection, perform a vaginal exam and test for and treat specific infections. She will also likely recommend supplemental products to prevent recurrent symptoms, especially to those with frequent infections.