Vaginitis is an irritation of your vagina or vulva. It’s super common and usually easy to treat. This can happen when there’s a change in the normal pH balance of your vagina, or if you have a reaction to irritating products.
There are several causes of vaginitis. Sometimes there’s more than 1 cause in a particular individual. Some causes of vaginitis include:
Common vaginal infections like:
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Bacterial vaginosis
Lack of Estrogen (atrophic vaginitis):
Lack of estrogen can lead to a type of vaginitis called atrophic vaginitis (also known as vaginal atrophy). Atrophic vaginitis is when you have irritation but no abnormal discharge. Things that can cause low estrogen include:
- Damage to your ovaries, or having your ovaries surgically removed
Allergies and Irritants
Sometimes sexual activity can lead to vaginitis. Your partner’s natural genital chemistry can change the balance of yeast and bacteria in your vagina. In rare cases, you can have an allergic reaction to your partner’s semen. Friction from sex, or certain types of lubricants, condoms, and sex toys may also cause irritation.
Allergic reactions or sensitivity to different products, materials, or activities can also cause vaginitis. Things that can lead to irritation include:
- vaginal deodorants, washes, and perfumed feminine hygiene products
- scented panty liners, pads, or tampons
- perfumed bath products
- scented or colored toilet paper
- some chemicals in laundry detergents and fabric softeners
- certain types of lubricants (i.e. flavored or with sugars in them)
- sex toys made out of certain materials
- latex and rubber in sex toys and condoms (if you have a latex allergy)
- tight pants, or underwear/pantyhose
- wearing wet bathing suits or damp clothing for long periods of time
- hot tubs or swimming pools
Everyone’s body is different, so things that lead to irritation in some people don’t cause problems for others.