A variety of organisms and conditions can cause vaginitis, so treatment targets the specific cause:
- Bacterial vaginosis. For this type of vaginitis, your doctor may prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl) tablets that you take by mouth or metronidazole (MetroGel) gel or clindamycin (Cleocin) cream that you apply to your vagina. You'll need to get tested and be given a prescription for these medications.
- Yeast infections. Yeast infections usually are treated with an over-the-counter antifungal cream or suppository, such as miconazole (Monistat 1), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), butoconazole (Femstat 3) or tioconazole (Vagistat-1). Yeast infections may also be treated with a prescription oral antifungal medication, such as fluconazole (Diflucan). The advantages of over-the-counter treatment are convenience, cost and not waiting to see your doctor. However, you might have something other than a yeast infection. Using the wrong medicine may delay an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
- Trichomoniasis. Your doctor may prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax) tablets.
- Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vaginal atrophy). Estrogen — in the form of vaginal creams, tablets or rings — can effectively treat this condition. This treatment is available by prescription from your doctor, after other risk factors and possible complications are reviewed.
- Noninfectious vaginitis. To treat this type of vaginitis, you need to pinpoint the source of the irritation and avoid it. Possible sources include new soap, laundry detergent, sanitary napkins or tampons.