Vaginitis signs and symptoms may include:

  • Change in color, odor or amount of discharge from your vagina
  • Vaginal itching or irritation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Light vaginal bleeding or spotting

The characteristics of vaginal discharge may indicate the type of vaginitis you have. Examples include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis. You may develop a grayish-white, foul-smelling discharge. The odor, often described as fish-like, may be more obvious after sexual intercourse.
  • Yeast infection. The main symptom is itching, but you may have a white, thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
  • Trichomoniasis. An infection called trichomoniasis (trik-o-moe-NIE-uh-sis) can cause a greenish yellow, sometimes frothy discharge.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you develop any unusual vaginal discomfort, especially if:

  • You've never had a vaginal infection. Seeing your doctor can establish the cause and help you learn to identify the signs and symptoms.
  • You've had vaginal infections before, but in this case, it seems different.
  • You've had multiple sex partners or a recent new partner. You could have a sexually transmitted infection. The signs and symptoms of some sexually transmitted infections are similar to those of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
  • You've completed a course of over-the-counter anti-yeast medication and your symptoms persist, you have a fever, or you have a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor. These are signs the infection may be from something other than yeast or from a resistant strain of yeast.

Wait-and-see approach

You probably don't need to see your doctor every time you have vaginal irritation and discharge, particularly if:

  • You've previously had a diagnosis of vaginal yeast infections and your signs and symptoms are the same as before
  • You know the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection and you're confident that you have a yeast infection
Mar. 06, 2014