VAGINITIS, GARDNERELLA OR NON-SPECIFIC
DESCRIPTIONVaginitis means infection or inflammation of the vagina. Non-specific vaginitis implies that any of several infecting germs, including gardnerella, escherichia coli, mycoplasma, streptococci, staphylococci, and viruses, have caused the infection. These infections are contagious. The vagina, urethra, bladder, and skin around the genitals are involved. Non-specific vaginitis can affect females of all ages, including children and adolescents.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSVaginal discharge that has an unpleasant odor.
Change in vaginal color from pale pink to red.
Severity of the following symptoms varies between females and from time to time in the same female:
CAUSESThe germs normally present in the vagina can multiply and cause infection when the pH and hormone balance of the vagina and surrounding tissue are disturbed.
The E. coli bacteria that normally inhabit the rectum can cause infection if spread to the vagina.
RISK FACTORSDiabetes mellitus.
Illness that has lowered resistance.
General poor health.
Hot weather, non-ventilating clothing--especially underwear--or any other condition that increases genital moisture, warmth, and darkness. These foster the growth of germs.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your daughter:
Keep the genital area clean. Use plain unscented soap.
Take showers rather than tub baths.
Wear cotton panties or pantyhose with a cotton crotch. Avoid panties made from non-ventilating materials, such as nylon.
Don't sit around in wet clothing--especially a wet bathing suit.
After urination or bowel movements, cleanse by wiping or washing from front to back (vagina to anus).
Lose weight if you are obese.
Avoid frequent douches or vaginal sprays.
If you have diabetes, adhere strictly to your treatment program.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam (including pelvic exam) by a doctor.
Laboratory studies, such as a Pap smear (See Glossary) and culture of the vaginal discharge.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSecondary bacterial infection of the vagina.
Usually curable in 2 weeks with treatment. If there are sexual partners involved, they may need treatment also.
HOME CAREInstructions for your daughter:
Follow the first 4 instructions under PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE.
Don't douche unless your doctor recommends it.
If urinating causes burning:
-- Urinate through a tubular device, such as a toilet-paper roll or plastic cup with the end cut out.
-- Urinate while bathing.
MEDICATIONAntibiotics or anti-parasitic drugs for gardnerella vaginitis.
Soothing vaginal creams or lotions for non-specific forms of vaginitis.
Using a thin sanitary pad will protect clothing from creams or suppositories. Keep the creams and suppositories in the refrigerator. After treatment, you may want to keep a refill of the medication so you can begin treatment for your daughter quickly if the infection recurs. Follow the prescription directions carefully.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your daughter should avoid overexertion, heat, and excessive sweating.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your daughter has symptoms of vaginitis.
Symptoms persist longer than 1 weeks or worsen, despite treatment.
Unusual vaginal bleeding or swelling develops.