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Colpitis (inflammation of the vagina)

Colpitis is one Inflammation of the vagina. Various fungi, bacteria and other pathogens can trigger this disease. This inflammation affects around 25% of all women at some point in their life. If colpitis is recognized in time and treated accordingly, it can be problem-free heal within a few weeks.

Various factors can promote vaginal inflammation, such as an impaired hormone balance or injuries to the vagina.

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What exactly is colpitis?

The term colpitis describes chronic or acute vaginal inflammation. In most cases there is also the vagina in addition to the vagina entire external female genital area, i.e. the vulva, inflamed. In this case, doctors speak of vulvovaginitis.

In principle, women of all ages can be affected by vaginal inflammation. This is one of the reasons why this is one of the most common infectious diseases in the area of ​​the female genitals.

The different forms of colpitis

Vaginal inflammation does not necessarily have uniform symptoms, but can show itself in different forms. They are typical characteristics:

  • Dysbiosis: The cause is a numerical imbalance of different germs in the vagina. There are typically no signs of infection here. The dysbiosis can develop into an infection if it is not recognized in time.
  • Primary colpitis: A significant amount of germs in the vagina disrupt the balance between the germs and lead to inflammation.
  • Secondary colpitis: The infection develops through a generally disturbed environment in the vagina.
  • Atrophic colpitis (Colpitis senilis): It is a type of secondary colpitis. This occurs when hormone production - specifically the production of the hormone estrogen - stops. This weakens the local defense against fungi and bacteria, which can lead to an infection of the vagina.
  • Non-inflammatory vaginal infection: These forms occur, for example, after infection with various viruses such as human papilloma viruses or after infection with the herpes simplex virus 2.

Symptoms of colpitis

A increased discharge (Fluor vaginalis) from the vagina is one of the clearest signs of colpitis. The consistency of the discharge depends on the cause.

  • Bacterial vaginosis: The discharge is thin, gray and smelly. Incidentally, this bacterial vaginal inflammation occurs relatively frequently.
  • Colpitis through Trichomonads (single-cell parasites): The discharge is yellow-green in color, is offensive and frothy. Itching can also be felt.
  • An infection with Candida fungi on the other hand triggers a creamy to crumbly and odorless discharge of white-yellowish color. This infection is also accompanied by severe itching.

Also Burning sensation and pain in the vaginal area are among the symptoms of colpitis. Pain can occur both during sexual intercourse and independently of a mechanical stimulus. Painful urination is also possible.

Depending on what caused the colpitis, there are also various Changes in the mucous membrane noticeable:

  • Papules (nodules)
  • flat and easily bleeding ulcers
  • diffuse or patchy redness

If the vaginal inflammation spreads to the vulva, this goes with pain, itching and redness in the Labia area hand in hand.

Causes and Risk Factors

bacteria such as streptococci, Escheria coli, staphylococci or various anaerobic bacteria such as Gardnerella vaginalis are among the most common triggers of colpitis. There are also gonococci, which are also responsible for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. Furthermore, colpitis of Mushrooms, Viruses and various Parasites to be triggered.

Normally, pathogens cannot survive inside the vagina. The reason: the sex hormone estrogen controls not only growth but also the regular renewal of the vaginal mucosa. It is also responsible for the increase in sugar levels in the vagina. This creates the conditions for the unhindered multiplication of lactic acid bacteria. These break down the sugar present in the vaginal cells into lactic acid, which results in a low pH value in the vagina. So the healthy vaginal flora has a Too acidic environment for pathogensthat serves to protect against infection.

Atrophic colpitis occurs often during or after menopause on. It is caused by a lack of estrogen, which results in a reduced local defense against pathogens. In the further course of this form, fungi or bacteria can settle and multiply relatively easily and make the problems worse.

Also other causes are conceivable:

  • Irritants such as chemicals
  • Foreign bodies in the vagina (traumatic colpitis), such as a forgotten tampon

Those are the risk factors

Various risk factors can promote the development of a vaginal inflammation. This includes:

  • poor and excessive hygiene
  • frequent partner change
  • Foreign objects in the vagina
  • Metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, Cushing's syndrome or obesity
  • Iron deficiency
  • Operations
  • genetic predispositions
  • Tumors

Furthermore you can Medications such as antibiotics contribute to the development because it disrupts the vaginal flora.

Diagnosis of vaginal inflammation

Usually, colpitis is diagnosed by a gynecologist who takes an anamnesis before the gynecological examination. It can affect an inflamed mucous membrane among other things Swelling or redness detect. Increased discharge can also be a sign of vaginal infection.

In order to find the cause, a smear is necessary, among other things.

Treatment of colpitis

Treatment of the condition is first and foremost dependent on the pathogens. Antibiotics are used against bacteria, while antifungal agents are used against fungi. Antiseptic agents that work against fungi, viruses, protozoa and bacteria are also used.

With timely and consistent therapy, vaginal inflammation can be treated well and without further complications. In rare cases, however, it can also expand, for example to the fallopian tubes, cervix or uterine lining.