Vaginitis is an infection. It causes soreness, swelling, and redness (inflammation) of the vagina. Many of these infections are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Having unprotected sex can cause further problems and complications such as:

  • Chronic pelvic pain.

  • Infertility.

  • Unwanted pregnancy.

  • Abortion.

  • Tubal pregnancy.

  • Infection passed on to the newborn.

  • Cancer.


  • Monilia. This is a yeast or fungus infection, not an STD.

  • Bacterial vaginosis. The normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and is replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria.

  • Gonorrhea, chlamydia. These are bacterial infections that are STDs.

  • Vaginal sponges, diaphragms, and intrauterine devices.

  • Trichomoniasis. This is a STD infection caused by a parasite.

  • Viruses like herpes and human papillomavirus. Both are STDs.

  • Pregnancy.

  • Immunosuppression. This occurs with certain conditions such as HIV infection or cancer.

  • Using bubble bath.

  • Taking certain antibiotic medicines.

  • Sporadic recurrence can occur if you become sick.

  • Diabetes.

  • Steroids.

  • Allergic reaction. If you have an allergy to:

  • Douches.

  • Soaps.

  • Spermicides.

  • Condoms.

  • Scented tampons or vaginal sprays.


  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.

  • Itching of the vagina.

  • Pain in the vagina.

  • Swelling of the vagina.

In some cases, there are no symptoms.


Treatment will vary depending on the type of infection.

  • Bacteria or trichomonas are usually treated with oral antibiotics and sometimes vaginal cream or suppositories.

  • Monilia vaginitis is usually treated with vaginal creams, suppositories, or oral antifungal pills.

  • Viral vaginitis has no cure. However, the symptoms of herpes (a viral vaginitis) can be treated to relieve the discomfort. Human papillomavirus has no symptoms. However, there are treatments for the diseases caused by human papillomavirus.

  • With allergic vaginitis, you need to stop using the product that is causing the problem. Vaginal creams can be used to treat the symptoms.

  • When treating an STD, the sex partner should also be treated.


  • Take all the medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • Do not use scented tampons, soaps, or vaginal sprays.

  • Do not douche.

  • Tell your sex partner if you have a vaginal infection or an STD.

  • Do not have sexual intercourse until you have treated the vaginitis.

  • Practice safe sex by using condoms.


  • You have abdominal pain.

  • Your symptoms get worse during treatment.