What is it?
Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include: * an abnormal vaginal discharge * vaginal irritation or itching * pain when peeing or having sex * vaginal discomfort * slight bleeding or spotting A strong, unpleasant smell, particularly after sex, can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, which can sometimes cause vaginitis
- Keep your genital area clean and dry – take a warm bath rather than a hot one and use unperfumed soap to clean your genital area (the vagina cleans itself with natural secretions); dry yourself thoroughly
- Use pads rather than tampons if you’re using intravaginal creams or pessaries to treat an infection – tampons may ‘soak up’ the treatment meaning there’s less available in the vagina
- Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear – this may be beneficial if you have external soreness, but it won’t prevent getting vaginitis in the future
- You should also practice safe sex by using condoms to avoid getting or spreading STIs.
- If you have mild to moderate vaginitis, using a lubricant can help relieve pain and discomfort while having sex. Lubricants provide short-term symptom relief and can improve vaginal dryness during sex, but there’s no evidence to show they’re an effective long-term treatment.
- Avoid douching (spraying water inside your vagina) – it may make your vaginitis symptoms worse by removing the healthy bacteria that line the vagina and help keep it free from infection
- Do not use feminine hygiene products – such as sprays, deodorants or powders
Things to watch out for
contact your GP if you have symptoms of vaginitis