Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the most common forms of vaginitis? What are their symptoms?


Candida vaginitis is caused by an overgrowth of one of many Candida species. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in the normal flora. Trichomoniasis is due to infection with a parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. It is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Atrophic vaginitis is irritation and inflammation secondary to atrophy of the vaginal tissue.
All of these conditions can present with one or more of the following symptoms: increased vaginal discharge, malodorous discharge, vaginal or vulvar pruritus, dyspareunia, vaginal or vulvar burning, vulvar edema, and erythema. The characteristics of the symptoms and the gross description of the discharge are not sufficient to establish the diagnosis.

Reference: Stenchever MA, Droegemueller W, Herbst AL, Mishell DR (eds): Comprehensive Gynecology, 4th ed. St. Louis, Mosby, 2001.

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