How is vaginitis treated?
The key to proper treatment of vaginitis is proper diagnosis. This is not always easy since the same symptoms can exist in different forms of vaginitis. You can greatly assist your healthcare provider by paying close attention to exactly which symptoms you have and when they occur, along with a description of the color, consistency, amount and smell of any abnormal discharge. We never recommend douching. Some providers ask that you abstain from sex for 24 hours before your appointment.
The important thing to understand is that medication may only cure the most common types of candida associated with vaginal yeast infections and will not cure other yeast infections or any other type of vaginitis. If you are not absolutely sure, see your doctor. You may save the expense of buying the wrong medication and avoid delay in treating your type of vaginitis (or possibly making it feel worse).
When buying an over-the-counter medicine, be sure to read all of the instructions completely before using the product. Be sure to use all of the medicine and don’t stop just because your symptoms have gone away.
Be sure to see your healthcare practitioner if:
- All of the symptoms do not go away completely.
- The symptoms return immediately or shortly after you finish treatment.
- You have any other serious medical problems such as diabetes.
- You might be pregnant.
- You have a new sexual partner and are concerned about STIs.
Non-infectious vaginitis is treated by changing the probable cause. If you recently changed your soap or laundry detergent, or have added a fabric softener, you might consider stopping the new product to see if the symptoms remain. The same instruction would apply to a new vaginal spray, douche, sanitary napkin or tampon. In general, the fewer chemicals and products the sensitive skin of the vagina and vulva are exposed to, the better. If the vaginitis is due to hormonal changes, a variety of hormonal options are available to help reduce symptoms (either used locally in the vagina or systemically).
What questions should I ask my doctor about treatment for vaginitis?
It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions, as well as the instructions that come with the medication. Do not stop taking the medicine when your symptoms go away. Do not be embarrassed to ask your doctor or healthcare practitioner questions. Vaginitis of all types is very common. Good questions to ask include:
- Should I abstain from sexual intercourse during treatment?
- Should my sexual partner(s) be treated at the same time?
- Will the medication for this vaginitis interact with my other medication(s)?
- Should I continue the vaginal cream or suppositories during my period?
- Do I need to be re-examined and if so, when?