Vulvovaginitis: what it is, symptoms and treatment

Vulvovaginitis is a simultaneous inflammation of the vulva and vagina that is usually caused by an infection by viruses, fungi or bacteria. However, it can also happen due to hormonal changes and even due to allergies to chemicals present in some bath foams and creams, for example.

Some of the symptoms that help to identify this inflammation include:

  • Irritation and redness of the intimate region;
  • Constant itching;
  • Swelling of the intimate region;
  • Discharge with intense smell;
  • Slight bleeding in the panties;
  • Discomfort or burning when urinating.

Although vulvovaginitis can appear in all women and at any age, it is more frequent in women who have already started sexual activity, since intimate contact facilitates contact with bacteria.

How the diagnosis is made

In most cases, the diagnosis of vulvovaginitis is made by the gynecologist only through the woman's symptom report, however, it may also be necessary to collect some vaginal discharge to be analyzed in the laboratory in order to identify the correct cause and start treatment. appropriate.

Main causes

There are several causes for the appearance of inflammation in the vulva and vagina, the most common of which include:

  • Excess of fungi, such as candidiasis;
  • Infection by viruses or bacteria;
  • Lack of hygiene or use of very tight underwear;
  • Infection by parasites, such as scabies or worms;
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, especially trichomoniasis.

In addition, some women may also develop vulvovaginitis due to hypersensitivity to some chemicals such as parabens or sodium sulfate that are present in soaps, laundry detergents or creams. In these cases, the symptoms appear shortly after using the product and improve when the area is washed with warm water and a suitable intimate soap.

In children, another very common cause is the low level of estrogens in the body that facilitates the development of vaginal infections, causing vulvovaginitis.

How the treatment is done

The treatment varies according to the cause of the vulvovaginitis, and in the case of infection by bacteria antibiotics should be used, while in the case of excess fungi, anti-fungal agents should be used, for example. Thus, it is always important to consult the gynecologist to find out which treatment is appropriate.

However, it is also possible to do the treatment at home to relieve symptoms and speed up the treatment recommended by the doctor. A good tip is to make sitz baths with 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or coarse salt, as they help to eliminate microorganisms present and soothe irritation.

Preference should also be given to the use of cotton underwear, skirts and dresses that help to ventilate the genital region, reducing the risk of worsening the infection.

Find out more details on how to properly treat vulvovaginitis.