Is vaginitis yeast infection?

Hi there, Erik Bakker, naturopath, author of Candida Crusher; another question which I get asked from time to time.

Is vaginitis a form of yeast infection?

Yeast infection is a form of vaginitis, so vaginitis generally means, the hallmark symptoms of vaginitis usually are irritation of the female genital area. And they can include symptoms like vaginal discharge, inflammation or pain, redness, swelling of labia, that’s quite a common one, or the perianal area can be affected as well. You can have dysuria or painful urination. It can be quite a common one. Dyspareunia or painful intercourse, and also a foul vaginal odor can be associated with vaginitis. So those are the common signs and symptoms of vaginitis.

The main type of vaginitis really would be atrophic vaginitis or senile vaginitis, which is a thinning of the lining of the vaginal wall. This will come generally due to low estrogen, which is really what women go through after the menopause, and that can cause pain with intercourse and that can predispose you toward a yeast infection or irritation or redness. So that’s quite a common one.

The second one will be bacterial vaginosis, which is really caused by a bacterial overgrowth in the vagina. And patients usually have less of the beneficial bacteria in that case, and are more prone to also getting a transmission of bacteria through the rectal area through to the vaginal area. So it’s important to wipe from front to back rather than the other way around, and to be careful with sexual relations.

So bacterial vaginosis can give you more of a profuse, watery, gray discharge with quite a foul fishy smelling odor as opposed to vaginal yeast infection, which is not really a profuse gray discharge; it’s white and doesn’t smell quite as foul as the bacterial vaginosis does.

Trichomoniasis or Trich is a different kind of a vaginitis. It’s usually a sexually transmitted single cell protozoan parasite or called Trichomoniasis vaginalis. So it can affect other parts of the urogenital tract of the female as well, and also the urethra can be affected.

So those are three key ones. We spoke about the atrophic vaginitis. We spoke about the bacterial vaginosis, and now we just spoke about the Trich, and the fourth one is Candida albicans; the fourth type of vaginitis.

So Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungal organism that causes thrush, and it’s found normally in small amounts in the gut and it’s normally kept in check by beneficial bacteria. But it can also occur in the vaginal area and cause a lot of itch and sort of white discharge and severe irritation and burning in many cases.

So I hope that explains a bit about vaginitis. The Candida albicans is certainly a form of vaginitis. So I hope that answers your question. Thank you.

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