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.
You probably don't need to see your doctor every time you have vaginal irritation and discharge, particularly if:
March 06, 2014
- 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
- Sobel J. Approach to women with symptoms of vaginitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR Recommendations and Reports. 2010;59:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5912a1.htm. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Hainer BL, et al. Vaginitis: Diagnosis and treatment. American Family Physician. 2011;83:807.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Vaginitis. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2006;107:1195.
- Vaginal yeast infections fact sheet. Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/vaginal-yeast-infections.cfm. Accessed Oct. 8, 2013.
- Condom fact sheet in brief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/brief.html. Accessed Oct. 8, 2013.
- Sobel J. Trichomoniasis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 9, 2013.
- Marnach ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 1, 2013.