Vaginitis refers to any inflammation or infection of the vagina. This is a common gynecological problem found in adolescents and females of all ages.
Young women may find the discomfort or pain associated with pelvic infections confusing and embarrassing. The adolescent OB/GYN providers at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center in Omaha understand those concerns and are sensitive to a young woman’s health issues. We take the time to listen and explain what may be causing their symptoms.
Bacteria, yeast, viruses or chemicals in creams or sprays, or organisms passed between sexual partners, can cause what is known as vaginitis. Vaginitus is an irritation of the vaginal skin and/or surrounding structures. A disturbance in any of these factors can trigger vaginitis.
The following are the most common types of vaginitis:
- Candida or "yeast" infection
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Trichomoniasis vaginitis
- Gonococcal vaginitis
- Noninfectious vaginitis
Sexually Transimitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact.
The best prevention of an STD is to abstain from any type of sexual contact with another person. However, if your adolescent decides to become sexually active, or is currently sexually active, there are precautionary measures to help reduce your adolescent's risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease. These include:
- Have a mutually monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner.
- Use a male latex or female polyurethane condom.
- Use sterile needles if injecting intravenous drugs.
- Delay having sexual relationships as long as possible.
- Have regular checkups for HIV and STDs.
- Seek medical help as soon as symptoms of an STD develops.
- Avoid having sexual intercourse during menstruation.
- Avoid anal intercourse, or use a male latex condom and topical microbicides.
- Avoid douching.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Some STDs can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to both infertility and ectopic pregnancy. When diagnosed early, many STDs can be successfully treated.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection of the female reproductive system. In most cases, it occurs when bacteria from the STD in the vagina or cervix move into the uterus and upper genital tract. The most common organisms that lead to PID are gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Untreated PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain and serious damage to the reproductive system.
The good news is that when PID causes symptoms, it can be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. The essential part is to detect it before it leads to serious health problems. These symptoms may include:
- abnormal vaginal discharge, possibly with an odor
- pain during urination or more frequent urination
- aching pain in the lower abdomen
- pain in the upper abdomen or more frequent urination
- fever and chills
- nausea and vomiting
- irregular menstrual bleeding
- pain during sex
- back pain
A teen who is being treated for PID also should be tested for other STDs, and should be encouraged to discuss sexual activity with their gynecologist or trusted adult.