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Vaginitis & Vaginal Discharge

Is vaginal discharge normal?

It is normal to have vaginal discharge after puberty. Normal vaginal discharge is odorless and clear or white in color. If your vaginal discharge changes color or odor, please contact your provider, as this could be a sign of infection.

What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina, which can cause itching, burning, odor, or an increased amount of vaginal discharge. This can occur when the normal balance of yeast or bacteria in the vagina changes. This commonly occurs after taking antibiotics, after fluctuations in hormone levels, after sexual intercourse, or due to an infection.

How can I prevent vaginitis?

Do not use vaginal sprays, deodorants, douches, or scented feminine products. Use plain water to clean your vulva (the area outside the vagina) − soaps can change the normal balance of organisms inside the vagina. Wear condoms during sexual intercourse.

Different types of vaginitis include:

  • Yeast infection: A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast (Candida) in the vagina. Common symptoms include vulvar itching, burning, redness or swelling. The burning can be worse with urination or sex. Treatment includes either taking a pill or applying medication to the vagina.
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV): BV is caused by an imbalance of the normal bacteria in the vagina. Common symptoms include a gray or green vaginal discharge with a strong fishy odor. Treatment includes either taking pills or applying medication to the vagina.
  • Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. Common symptoms include a yellow, gray, or green discharge with odor, vaginal burning, redness or swelling. Treatment includes taking either a single-dose pill or a 7-day course of pills. It is important to treat sexual partners to prevent the infection from recurring.
  • Atrophic vaginitis: Atrophic vaginitis is caused by a change in hormones, typically during breastfeeding or after menopause. Common symptoms include vaginal dryness, itching or burning, and pain during sex. Treatment includes a vaginal cream, ring or tablet.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of vaginitis, please call your OB/GYN’s office for assistance.

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