Vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina, is not an uncommon complaint. The three most common causes of vaginal inflammation are discussed below.
1. Atrophic vaginitis: This type of vaginitis is most common in peri-menopausal and menopausal women. Older women have declining estrogen levels. Testosterone is another prime reason why it may occur. If you have atrophic vaginitis, your estrogen levels should be checked.
The DUTCH (dried urine test comprehensive hormones) is a very useful test. It will look at all the different hormones in your body, including the sex hormones (e.g., estrogens and androgens) and the stress hormones. This test measures the levels of the three different types of estrogen.
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Estrogen has a very interesting effect on the cells lining the vagina. Estrogen keeps those cells moist and plump and allows for proper lubrication. Estrogen is required for sexual maturation of the sexual organs and keeps you in great shape until age reduces its production in the body.
2. Irritant vaginitis: Irritant vaginitis is an inflammatory response to a chemical irritant. Irritant vaginitis can occur at any age. The chemical can originate from personal care products or clothing. If you think you have irritant vaginitis, visit your OB/GYN. This doctor can work with you to determine if the vaginitis is irritant or due to another cause.
I recommend that you only use natural personal care products and lubricants to reduce the risk of irritant vaginitis.
3. Infectious vaginitis: Infectious vaginitis is very common in women ages 15 to 40. Ninety percent of infectious vaginitis is accounted for by bacterial vaginosis (VB), trichomonas, or Candida. VB is the number one cause of infectious vaginitis. Risk factors for VB include improper wiping, which allows unfriendly bacteria from the GI tract to colonize the vagina.