You'll need prescription medication to treat trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis and vaginal atrophy. If you know you have a yeast infection, you can take these steps:
Use an over-the-counter medication specifically for yeast infections. Options include one-day, three-day or seven-day courses of cream or vaginal suppositories. The active ingredient varies, depending on the product: clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat 1) or tioconazole (Vagistat-1).
Some products also come with an external cream to apply to the labia and opening of the vagina. Follow package directions and complete the entire course of treatment, even if you're feeling better right away.
- Apply a cold compress, such as a washcloth, to the labial area to ease discomfort until the antifungal medication takes full effect.
Good hygiene may prevent some types of vaginitis from recurring and may relieve some symptoms:
- Avoid baths, hot tubs and whirlpool spas.
- Avoid irritants. These include scented tampons, pads, douches and scented soaps. Rinse soap from your outer genital area after a shower, and dry the area well to prevent irritation. Don't use harsh soaps, such as those with deodorant or antibacterial action, or bubble bath.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Doing so avoids spreading fecal bacteria to your vagina.
Other things you can do that may help prevent vaginitis include:
- Don't douche. Your vagina doesn't require cleansing other than normal bathing. Repetitive douching disrupts the normal organisms that reside in the vagina and can actually increase your risk of vaginal infection. Douching won't clear up a vaginal infection.
- Use a latex condom. Both male and female latex condoms may help you avoid infections spread by sexual contact.
- Wear cotton underwear. Also wear pantyhose with a cotton crotch. If you feel comfortable without it, skip wearing underwear to bed. Yeast thrives in moist environments.
Oct. 25, 2016
- Sobel J. Approach to women with symptoms of vaginitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 11, 2016.
- Vaginitis. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—FAQS.. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Vaginitis. Accessed Aug. 11, 2016.
- Vaginitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://search.cdc.gov/search?query=vaginitis&utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=cdc-main. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Overview of vaginitis. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/vaginitis,-cervicitis,-and-pelvic-inflammatory-disease-pid/overview-of-vaginitis. Accessed Aug. 11, 2016.