Vaginal Infection Causes
What causes vaginitis, that nasty inflammation of the vagina that leads to symptoms like itching, discharge, and pain? Most often, the thing that brings it on is a change in the delicate balance of the normal flora found in the vagina, but sometimes vaginitis is due to an infection. In still other cases, the reduced estrogen levels that accompany menopause bring on this state of vaginal inflammation.
Bacterial vaginosis comes as a result of the overgrowth of one of the organisms that are present in your vagina. Most of the time, lactobacilli, the good bacteria, tend to outnumber the anaerobes or bad bacteria in the vagina. But when the numbers of anaerobic bacteria grow out of bounds, they can throw the balance of the vaginal flora askew with the result being vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis can be transmitted during sex but can also occur in celibate folks. Women who have multiple sex partners or just someone new are at risk as are those women who make douching a part of their regular toilette. Using an intrauterine device (IUD) as a birth control method also raises the profile for bacterial vaginosis.
Yeast infections develop when the environment of your vagina changes to one that is friendly to the microscopic fungus known as Candida albicans. This fungus, like every other fungus, likes a warm, moist environment. Air and light are its enemies.
Some of the factors that can cause a yeast infection include:
*Diabetes that is uncontrolled
*Hormone changes due to pregnancy, contraceptives, or menopause
*Medications like steroids or antibiotics
Other contributory factors include:
*Remaining at length in damp clothing
*The use of vaginal contraceptives
*Feminine hygiene products like deodorants and sprays
Trichomoniasis is an all too common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by a one-celled microscopic parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. The organism is spread during sex with someone already infected by the parasite. In men, it is more common for the urinary tract to be affected, though there may be no symptoms at all. But in women, the vagina is the target.
Other causes of irritation can be found in various scented products including soaps and laundry detergents that can cause an allergic reaction or an irritation of the delicate tissues of your vagina and vulva. Spermicides may also be an irritant.
Last but not least, with age comes a natural thinning of the tissues of the vagina which can bring with it itching, pain, and burning. This thinning is brought about by the decline of estrogen levels that comes with menopause or as a result of an oophorectomy (the surgical removal of the ovaries).