Vaginal infection or vaginitis; It refers to the health problem that occurs when the vaginal tissue, which is a part of the reproductive system, becomes inflamed due to various microorganisms or disruption of the vaginal flora. In a healthy individual, countless microorganisms live in the vulva and vagina areas that make up the genital area, as well as in all external tissues of the body. The majority of these organisms do not have a negative effect on the body, in fact, they provide benefits and survive harmlessly by forming colonies in the mentioned areas.
Thanks to the colonization of these organisms, other microorganisms that may be harmful to body tissues do not have the chance to reproduce in the tissues. However, if the number of harmless microorganisms decreases for various reasons, the number of organisms that cause inflammation in the vaginal tissue increases and vaginitis occurs. Another cause of vaginal infection is the direct transmission of some harmful organisms that are not present in the body to the genital area.
What Causes Vaginal Infection?
There are many bacteria called lactobacilli that live in harmony with the body in the vaginal tissue. Lactobacilli colonize this area and prevent other microorganisms that may be harmful to the body from reproducing in the vaginal tissue. It also contributes to the regulation of different parameters of vaginal tissue such as pH, acidity and biochemical properties. In cases such as unnecessary antibiotic use, improper nutrition, and improper care of the genital area, lactobacilli may be negatively affected and their numbers in the vagina decrease rapidly. In this case, other bacteria or microorganisms have the opportunity to settle in the vaginal tissue, and as a result, inflammation may occur in the vaginal tissue.
If the lactobacillus colony in the vagina is larger than normal, inflammation of the tissues may occur. In addition, vaginal infection may occur if some microorganisms that cause various sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted. Vaginal infection can manifest itself as the following health problems:
Bacterial vaginosis: It occurs when lactobacilli in the natural flora of the vagina reproduce more than normal due to changes in the environmental characteristics of the vagina. Patients experience foul-smelling greyish-white, yellow or green discharge.
Candida or fungal infection: As a result of the abnormal proliferation of microscopic fungal cells in the area as a result of the decrease in the amount of lactobacilli, candida infection with curd-colored discharge may develop.
Trichomonas infection: It is a parasitic infection that can also be transmitted sexually and causes inflammation in the internal tissues of the vagina and genital area, causing green, foul-smelling discharge.
Chlamydia: It is a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation in the cervix as well as the vagina and can be transmitted sexually. It is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections.
Gonorrhea or gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is a bacterial disease that causes widespread infection in the reproductive system and can be transmitted sexually.
Viral vaginitis: It is inflammation that develops in and around the vagina due to various virus infections that can cause lesions such as rashes, warts and ulcers. Factors include human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV).
Sexually transmitted diseases: Vaginitis may also occur in sexually transmitted diseases that cause ulceration or lymph node enlargement in the genital area, such as syphilis, lymphogranuloma venerum (LGV), and chancroid.
What are the symptoms of vaginal infection?
In vaginal infections, a wide spectrum of clinical complaints can be observed, depending on the degree, severity, prevalence of inflammation and the factor causing the inflammation. It is important to share all symptoms with the doctor for correct diagnosis and treatment. Clinical symptoms that may be seen in patients who develop vaginitis are:
Vaginal discharge; Observation of dense discharge that is green, yellow, gray or white in color, with a fishy or foul odor, unlike the colorless, odorless or thick discharge that may develop during the menstrual cycle
Vaginal itching or tenderness
Pain in the vagina, pain during sexual intercourse
Burning or discomfort when urinating
Redness and swelling in the vagina and genital area
How is Vaginal Infection Treated?
If infections in the genital area are left untreated, they can progress to the inner parts of the reproductive system and cause more serious health problems. If the internal reproductive organs are affected, sexual dysfunction may develop. In this regard, it is very important to diagnose the disease at an early stage and plan appropriate treatment. Since vaginal infections are usually caused by bacteria or parasites, antibiotics are often used in the treatment. Antibiotics can be taken orally in the form of tablets or capsules, or they can be applied locally.
Antiviral drugs are used in vaginitis caused by viral factors.