Vaginitis

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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How is vaginitis diagnosed?

The symptoms and signs of vaginitis strongly suggest the diagnosis. At the time of diagnosis, a pelvic examination is typically performed that may include removal of a sample of vaginal discharge. The sample may be viewed under the microscope to look for Trichomonas organisms, or it may be sent to a laboratory for culture or other specialized tests to identify infectious organisms.

What is the treatment for vaginitis?

The treatment for vaginitis depends upon its cause. Infectious vaginitis is treated with antibiotic medications. Bacterial vaginitis is treated either with oral antibiotics, intra-vaginal antibiotic creams, or injections (shots) of antibiotics. Treatment guidelines are always updated to reflect the patterns of resistance to antibiotics of circulating bacterial strains.

Medications to treat vaginitis

Antibiotics that may be used in the management of bacterial vaginosis include ceftriaxone (Rocephin), erythromycin, metronidazole (Flagyl), clindamycin (Cleocin), cefixime (Suprax), doxycycline (Doryx), and azithromycin (Zithramax).

Antifungal medications are used to treat yeast infections, and antifungal preparations are also available over-the-counter for yeast vaginitis. Examples of antifungal medications include fluconazoleterconazole (Terazol), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat), butoconazole (Gynazole), and Nystatin.

Metronidazole (Flagyl) is the drug of choice for treating Trichomonas infections.

Vaginitis due to infections cannot be cured by home remedies. However, many women find that home care strategies can help control unpleasant symptoms. These include allowing air to circulate around the vagina when possible by wearing loose, cotton undergarments and clothing. Removing undergarments at night may also be helpful.

Vaginitis due to thinning and irritation of the vaginal wall as a result of lowered estrogen levels at menopause can be treated with hormonal therapy, either in topic (applied directly to the vagina) or oral form. Non-hormonal vaginal lubricant products are also available.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/20/2015

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