Because these words sound alike, it’s easy to mistake one with the other. We’ve taken the mystery out of these terms, and by examining a few simple facts, you’ll understand the difference between vaginosis and vaginitis.
“The good news is that these conditions are highly treatable, we have extensive options available,” said Dr. Joshua Hardison.. “We also understand how these terms can be easily confused, and we encourage patients to ask one of our physicians or nurse midwives questions.”
What’s the difference between vaginosis and vaginitis?
Vaginitis is a term that encompasses several different types of vaginal irritations, such as yeast infections and trichomoniasis. Vaginosis is a type of vaginitis. (U.S. National Library of Medicine).
What are the symptoms of vaginitis?
Symptoms of vaginitis include:
What is vaginosis?
This common infection particularly affects women from the ages of 15 to 44. Vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in vaginal flora—the “good” and “bad” bacteria that live in the vagina.
The symptoms are very similar to those for vaginitis and include:
- Smelly discharge
- Painful intercourse
- Painful urination
- A grayish-white discharge
When do these infections commonly occur and how can I avoid them?
Research is ongoing into how bacterial vaginosis spreads. Anything that can upset the balance of vaginal flora can lead to bacterial vaginosis. This means you should avoid activities that place you at higher risk, such as douching. Women who have multiple sex partners also appear to be at higher risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. (Centers for Disease Control)
How is bacterial vaginosis treated?
It may go away without treatment, but sometimes antibiotic medication is required. Even after treatment, bacterial vaginosis may return. If you’re prescribed medication, it’s important to take it exactly as directed. The length of treatment is typically around seven days, depending upon each individual case.
We can provide an accurate, timely diagnosis to help you.
If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms listed above, schedule an appointment with our office—often we’re able to give you an appointment that week. Any time you develop vaginal discomfort, you should speak with one of our health care providers.. There are several conditions that have similar symptoms, and an accurate diagnosis is vital to ensure successful treatment.
See why generations of Triangle area women have made us their medical home. We consider it a privilege to care for our patients, and we would welcome the opportunity to care for you. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Interested in learning more? You’ll find the following article useful:
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
Centers for Disease Control. “Bacterial Vaginosis Fact Sheet.” Online.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Vaginitis.” Online.