Vaginitis or inflammation of the vagina may occur owing to an infection or irritation caused by exposure to allergens or chemicals. Some women hardly experience any symptom of vaginitis. In others, the symptoms may vary, depending upon the cause of the vaginal inflammation.
5 Common Symptoms Of Vaginitis
Vaginal Itching and Irritation
Itching and irritation are the most common signs of vaginitis. It is more likely to occur in women suffering from yeast infection. Vaginal itching might also occur in women suffering from vaginitis due to trichomoniasis, a type of sexually transmitted parasitic infection. However, vaginal itching is not solely linked to infectious vaginitis. Even noninfectious vaginitis can trigger itching. Exposure to chemical irritants present in soaps, detergents, douches, creams, fabric softeners and contraceptive foams may induce itching and irritation in the vagina. In women sensitive to stress, excess stress may trigger vaginal itching. By weakening the immune system, stress can increase the risk of recurrent vaginal yeast infection.
The swelling of the vagina obstructs urine flow, leading to painful urination. Both infectious and non-infectious factors can cause painful urination. Microbe overgrowth in the vagina can cause pain while passing urine. You might find blood in the urine when the vaginal tissue is injured during urination. Painful urination may occur from irritation or inflammation of the vagina following exposure to chemical irritants in bubble bath, sprays and perfumes. Atrophic vaginitis that occurs in menopausal women due to changes in the vaginal tissues also causes pain during urination.
Changes in Vaginal Discharge
The normal vaginal discharge is clear or slightly cloudy, odor free and non-irritating. Normally, the amount and consistency of the vaginal discharge vary throughout the menstrual cycle. It is clear and stretchy during ovulation. At the beginning and the end of the menstrual cycle, the vaginal discharge is thicker and whiter. Your vaginal discharge can also be watery and clean at different points of the menstrual cycle. The discharge is more likely to become watery after physical activities.
A vaginal discharge that has an abnormal color or odor may indicate presence of infectious vaginitis. In yeast infections, the vaginal discharge usually becomes thick, like cottage cheese. Occasionally, watery odorless vaginal discharge might indicate yeast infection. Grayish-white colored vaginal discharge with foul or fishy odor is a sign of bacterial infection in the vagina. The foul smell of the vaginal discharge becomes more obvious during sexual intercourse. In vaginitis caused by trichomoniasis, the vaginal discharge is frothy and greenish yellow in color.
Mild Vaginal Bleeding
In some cases, spotting or mild vaginal bleeding occurs after intercourse. Light bleeding is more likely to occur in women suffering from Chlamydia, a type of sexually transmitted infectious vagina. Chlamydia infection is also accompanied by pelvic and lower abdominal pain.
Vaginitis Without Symptoms
If you are suffering from bacterial vaginosis, you might not notice any symptom of the infection. Although in some cases, foul odor of the vaginal discharge aids diagnosis of the disease, in most cases, the infectious vaginitis is detected during a routine gynecologic examination.