What is Vaginitis and How Can You Treat It?

Symptoms of vulvovaginal irritation drive many women to see their gynecologist, but they often get no real relief. You can finally end vaginitis by visiting a vulvovaginal specialist who understands the underlying causes of this condition.

What is Vaginitis and How Can You Treat It?

Vaginitis is an umbrella term for inflammation of the vagina. While most gynecologists consider vaginitis a condition, they should view it as a symptom of an underlying imbalance in the vaginal microflora. Disruption of this microflora can trigger changes to the vaginal secretions that cause symptoms of burning, inflammation, and pain. 

A healthy vagina contains a fairly stable population of microorganisms dominated by lactobacilli. These beneficial bacteria feed on shed vaginal cells and secrete lactic acid, keeping the vagina acidic. This acidity keeps most other vaginal residents at low levels where they cause no issues. Vaginitis occurs when the average acidic balance of the vagina falls apart, and other organisms can thrive, including bacteria and yeasts. 

Correcting this imbalance requires a customized treatment protocol based on your vaginal fluid analysis (VFA). Treatment works to restore healthy, normal vaginal conditions and protect the most sensitive parts of the vagina and vulva from irritants or trauma while they heal from the irritation. 

How Does a VFA Diagnose Vaginitis?

Typical tests for vaginitis only diagnose four types: atrophic vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and yeast infections. Many other microorganisms not considered in these tests can cause vaginitis. A vulvovaginal expert like those at Fowler GYN International can use a vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) to determine what has caused your imbalance. A VFA will look for factors such as:

  • The presence of white blood cells indicating an infection
  • The number of shed vaginal cells to feed the lactobacilli
  • The number of healthy lactobacilli
  • Other bacteria in higher numbers than normal
  • Excessive yeast growth

Why See a Vulvovaginal Specialist for Vaginitis?

Many gynecologists do not see enough of these cases to invest in the specialized equipment and training needed for a correct diagnosis. Without the detailed results of the VFA testing, a treatment protocol could not effectively target the root of the problem. A vulvovaginal specialist has dedicated their career to these conditions and will give you a more targeted, effective treatment protocol. 

What Results Will You See With Vaginitis Treatment?

During the first part of your treatment, you may experience ups and downs in your symptoms. Cells in the vulva and vestibule (opening to the vagina) are regularly shed, so cells that begin in the deeper layers of the skin will rise to the surface in about four weeks. As new cells not exposed to the irritants appear, you may notice increased sensitivity. After four to six of these cycles, the new cells no longer have excessive sensitivity, and you may be able to resume normal activities. 

Take the Next Step

The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.

You can reach FGI at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.

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