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Vaginal Infection

Next Steps

If you are diagnosed with vaginitis, keep your genital area clean and dry. Take showers instead of baths. This will also help prevent future infections. Don't douche or use feminine hygiene sprays or powders while being treated. Don't have sexual relations while being treated.

After you leave the doctor, abstain from sexual intercourse until treatment is completed and symptoms subside.

Follow-up

Follow up with your doctor for results of your cervical  lab tests and Pap test. It is recommended that you have a complete physical examination every year, whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms.

Because the chemical balance of the vagina is very sensitive, it is best to let the vagina clean itself. The vagina takes care of cleaning itself naturally through secretions of mucus. Warm water and gentle, unscented soap during the bath or shower is the best way to clean the outside areas of the vagina. Products like feminine hygiene soaps, powders and sprays are not necessary, and may be harmful.

Douching is rinsing or cleaning out the vagina by squirting water or other solutions (such as vinegar, baking soda, or douching solutions you can buy at drug and grocery stores) into the vagina. The water or solutions are held in a bottle and squirted into the vagina through tubing and a nozzle. Although douching is a common practice among women in the United States, health care providers do not recommend douching to clean the vagina. Douching changes the delicate chemical balance in the vagina, which can make you more likely to develop a vaginal infection. Research shows that women who douche regularly tend to have more problems such as vaginal infections than women who do not douche or who rarely douche.

Douching is not a form of birth control, and douching after sex does not prevent pregnancy  .

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Prevention

The best ways to prevent bacterial vaginosis are not known. However, enough is known to show that bacterial vaginosis is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners. It is seldom found in women who have never had intercourse. Basic prevention would include using condoms, limiting the number of sex partners, abstaining from douching, and using all the medicine prescribed for treatment of bacterial vaginosis, even if the symptoms go away.

Vaginal yeast infections   can be easily prevented in most cases.

  • Keep your vaginal area dry, especially after a shower.
  • Wipe from front to rear after using the toilet.
  • Switch to looser-fitting cotton underwear.
  • Change wet bathing suits after a swim.
  • Avoid tight-fitting jeans or pantyhose.
  • Pregnant women should see their doctor immediately if they are experiencing symptoms.
  • Avoid chemical irritants in deodorized tampons. Do not use douches or feminine hygiene products. Regular bathing is usually adequate to cleanse the vagina.

Trichomoniasis can be prevented. If you are diagnosed with a trichomonal  infection, your sexual partner should also be checked. He or she may have other sexually transmitted diseases   and also may re-infect you if not treated. Safe sex with condoms and counseling about sexually transmitted diseases may help decrease the rates of infection and reinfection.

Outlook

If diagnosed and treated correctly, all forms of vaginitis usually respond well to therapy. Your symptoms will clear up and go away. If your symptoms won't go away or the symptoms come back, you must be reevaluated by your health care provider.

Bacterial vaginosis is associated with inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. bacterial vaginosis also can cause problems with pregnancy such as premature delivery and low-birth-weight infants. Your health care provider will be monitoring your condition closely if you are pregnant and have had a premature baby before. bacterial vaginosis may also put you at increased risk of gonorrhea and HIV infection.

Trichomoniasis is associated with increased risk of transmission of HIV and may cause a woman to deliver a low-birth-weight or premature infant.

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