Vaginitis – causes, symptoms, diagnosis in women and girls

Vaginitis – causes, symptoms, diagnosis in women and girls

Infectious damage to the vulva and vagina, vaginitis is one of the most common diseases in women, which manifests itself with all the symptoms of local inflammation: hyperemia, edema, itching, etc. Pathology causes various changes in the mucous membrane of the vagina, vulva, and also the cervix. The disease affects not only adult women, but also girls of all ages.

What is vaginitis?

Colpitis or vaginitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the vagina and vulva, which is caused by pathogenic, conditionally pathogenic microorganisms. The disease is one of the most common pathologies in gynecology. According to the clinical course, acute, subacute and chronic vaginitis are distinguished. As a rule, the disease develops in women who have a history of chronic infectious lesions (tonsillitis, pyelonephritis, hepatitis, etc.).

According to statistics, every third woman suffers from inflammation of the vaginal mucosa. This is due to an increase in the number of sexually transmitted infectious diseases, non-observance of hygiene of intimate life, environmental problems, and a decrease in the activity of general immunity. The pathological processes of vaginitis affect the vagina, sometimes the external genitalia – the vulva, causing a combination – vulvovaginitis. The disease is accompanied by an unpleasant smell, burning, discomfort.


The main cause of the disease is the ingestion, reproduction of pathogenic bacterial or fungal microflora (candida vulvovaginosis) on the vaginal mucosa with weak general or local immunity, non-observance of personal hygiene due to the use of hormonal drugs. Vaginitis in young girls can develop when the infection is brought in by the hematogenous route with blood flow with pyelonephritis, flu, scarlet fever. The following groups of factors that contribute to the development of colpitis are distinguished:

  1. Suppression of the intrinsic microflora of the vaginal mucosa. It occurs as a result of a worsening environmental situation, nervous strain, prolonged use of certain medications, a decrease in general and local immune reactivity, and the body’s resistance to infectious diseases.
  2. Genital injury. Carrying out some diagnostic and therapeutic measures – abortion, curettage of the uterine cavity, sounding, installation of an intrauterine device. In addition, the misuse of hygienic and medical tampons and pads contributes to the spread of microorganisms.
  3. Unprotected sex. Most pathogens that cause vaginitis symptoms, acute vulvovaginitis, enter the vaginal mucosa through sexual contact.
  4. Endocrine diseases, hormonal imbalance. Particularly predisposed to the development of colpitis are pregnant women with endocrine diseases, ovarian hypofunction and menopause, due to hormonal changes in the body.

What are the types of vaginitis

The disease is classified by the type of specific pathogen that led to the defeat of the mucous membrane of the internal or external genital organs of a woman. There are 4 types of this inflammatory lesion:

  1. Nonspecific. This type of inflammation is caused by normal microflora of the vagina with hormonal disorders, a change in the reactivity of the immune system. It is manifested, as a rule, by itching, burning, and hyperemia of the genital tract. With non-specific inflammation of the odor, vaginal discharge does not have. This type of colpitis is chronic, well treatable, but prone to relapse (e.g., thrush).
  2. Specific. It develops due to the defeat of pathogens of sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, mycoplasma, gonococcus, etc.). It is characterized by an acute course, fetid, foamy discharge from the vagina (with chlamydial or trichomonas vaginitis). It is accompanied by atrophic changes in the mucous membrane.
  3. Mucopurulent. The causative agent in this case causes inflammation not only of the walls of the vagina, but also of the cervix (cervicitis). It develops, as a rule, in the early postpartum period, after using instruments in childbirth (forceps, vacuum). Often occurs as a result of gynecological interventions (examination in the mirrors, transvaginal ultrasound, abortion, etc.). Inflammation is characterized by scanty purulent discharge, severe abdominal pain, and temperature. In the absence of treatment, the formation of abscesses, fistulas, the development of peritonitis is possible.


Symptoms of colpitis may vary and depend on the stage of development of the disease, the age of the patient and the cause that triggered the development of the pathology. Any infectious lesion of the internal and external genitalia in a woman is accompanied by itching, burning, specific discharge, redness of the mucosa, pain during urination and during intercourse.


The disease can last for a long time unnoticed by a woman or the symptoms may appear briefly and slightly. If untreated, chronic vaginitis can cause the development of infectious diseases in the genitourinary system (bladder, kidneys). In addition, after some time, strong periodic exacerbations of colpitis begin: severe burning, swelling, pain in the lower abdomen, dense fetid discharge.


The clinic of acute inflammation is characterized by rapid development of symptoms. A woman begins to feel a burning sensation, itching, pain during urination and during sex. During the examination, you can detect swelling of the mucous membrane. The presence and nature of the discharge is determined by the causative agent of colpitis. In some cases, the patient’s body temperature rises to subfebrile values.


In addition to the classic manifestations, lesions of the vaginal mucosa and vulva, nonspecific colpitis is accompanied by symptoms of the primary disease (for example, severe weight gain or weight loss due to hormonal imbalances). In this case, it is necessary to carry out additional diagnostics to clarify the diagnosis. Nonspecific vaginitis has an acute course, but its symptoms are mild.

Vaginitis in children

Symptoms of colpitis in children develop as a result of an immune disorder, helminthic infestations, chronic infectious lesions, swimming in a dirty pond. Often, vaginitis develops in adolescent girls on the eve of or immediately after the first menstruation due to hormonal changes in the body. The main problem is that children are embarrassed to tell their parents about the symptoms, which is why the treatment does not start on time and the disease often becomes chronic.

Colpitis treatment in older girls (from 9-11 years old) is carried out in the same way as in adults. Very young patients are recommended to prescribe medications that contain a small dose of the active component to prevent the development of allergies, side effects. To prevent the development of the disease in the girl, the mother should explain to her how to properly wash, when you need to change underwear and other rules of personal hygiene. Teenagers need to be told about the proper use of personal hygiene items (pads, tampons).

Especially attentive to such a moment, it is necessary to be young girls based on the anatomical and physiological, specific, structure of their vagina, directly friability and vulnerability. Because of this feature, the infection that caused the infection penetrates much deeper and much faster, which leads to a severe course of the disease and complications.

Colpitis during pregnancy

Acute vulvovaginitis in women who are expecting a baby is a common occurrence. Due to hormonal changes in the body, the state of the vaginal microflora changes, local immunity decreases, and inflammation occurs. Poor mothers are not recommended to use antibiotics to eliminate the disease, so they are prescribed douching, washing with antiseptic solutions. If the disease is severe, local medications are prescribed. In this case, it is necessary to strictly observe the doctor’s prescription and stop using the drug if side effects develop.


In the absence of timely medical intervention or poor-quality treatment, the development of complications of the inflammatory process is possible:

  • the transition of the acute form to chronic, which is more difficult to treat and more often gives relapses;
  • colpitis can provoke the development of erosion of the cervix, cysts and other neoplasms;
  • the infection can spread to parts of the urinary system and cause the development of chronic diseases (cystitis, pyelonephritis, etc.);
  • the development of endometriosis;
  • in girls, due to colpitis, adhesions (synechia) of the labia minora and labia minora appear, make urination difficult and require surgical intervention;
  • in older women, due to colpitis, hypoxia of the vaginal walls develops, as a result of which small sizes of ulcers and bruises form on the mucosa;
  • inflammatory diseases, both infectious and non-infectious, provoke the development of secondary infertility.


To prevent the development of pathological changes in the vaginal microflora and reduce the frequency of relapse of chronic inflammation of the vaginal walls, it is necessary:

  • carry out antibacterial drug therapy strictly in accordance with the doctor’s prescription;
  • observe personal hygiene;
  • wear underwear made from natural fabrics;
  • follow a diet;
  • avoid frequent changes of sexual partners or carefully protect themselves with barrier methods of contraception.

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