What are the Causes of Vaginitis?

Monika Singh   by Monika Singh, MS    Last updated on September 27, 2019,

what are the causes of vaginitis


Causes of Vaginitis

Vaginitis is an inflammatory disease. Many triggers can cause an infection to the vagina. Infection is the main cause of vaginitis. Infection is usually caused by two factors:

  • Some vaginal infections are caused by sexual contact
  • Some vaginal infections are caused by the disturbance of the balance of organisms present in the vagina

The main causes of vaginitis are described below:


There are two kinds of bacteria present in the vagina. One is good (that protects the vagina and maintain the balance) and the other is bad (potentially infectious which is harmful and disturbs the balance of vagina). When the number of bad bacteria increases continuously and good bacteria reduces in number, the balance of the vagina is disturbed and an infection is triggered which causes vaginitis.


Certain yeast like candida are present in the vagina. When this yeast grows too much, vaginitis occurs. Yeast infection may occur if the person is taking antibiotics.

Antibiotics normally kill antifungal bacteria that live in the vagina. This increases the number of fungus in the vagina and eventually, vaginitis may occur.


Parasites like pinworms and lice can cause irritation and inflammation in the vagina. Irritated skin is more susceptible to infections and hence leads to vaginitis.

Chemical Irritants and Allergens

Chemical irritants cause allergic reactions even if there is no infection. Their continuous use may lead to vaginitis. These chemicals can be such as:

  • Soaps
  • Sprays
  • Perfumed hygienic products
  • Vaginal washes
  • Scented or colored toilet paper
  • Certain types of lubricants
  • Scented panty liners, pads and tampons
  • Fabric softeners and detergents

Sexually Transmitted Infections

There are certain infections which are transmitted sexually. For example, trichomonas vaginitis can cause discomfort in vagina, heavy discharge and itching.

Vaginal Contraceptives

Birth control pills, as well as other contraceptive measures like spermicide, can cause a decrease in acidity in the vagina. These changes in vagina make it more susceptible to vaginal infections.

Environmental Factors

Tight clothing can cause irritation in the vagina. Damp underwear provides favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria. Both these situations can cause vaginitis.


Medications such as antibiotics and steroids trigger the infection in the vagina. Antibiotics can kill some bacteria in the vagina which keeps a check on the growth of yeast. As a result, the yeast can overgrow and cause the infection. Steroids primarily control the inflammation levels which decrease the body's natural ability to fight infections.

Medical Conditions

Some women have a fistula. A fistula is an abnormal passage that connects the intestine to the vagina. The fecal bacteria thus travel to the vagina and disturb the balance, causing vaginitis.

Hormonal changes

Reduced estrogen levels due to menopause, pregnancy, breastfeeding and surgical removal of the ovaries can cause thinning of the vaginal lining. This makes the vagina more prone to irritation, dryness and inflammation.

Uncontrolled Diabetes

If a person's diabetes is not controlled, his sugar levels may rise to very high levels. This sudden increase in sugar can cause yeast to grow mainly in the vaginal region thereby causing the yeast infection.

Maintaining the blood sugar levels can help to control the infection.

Poor hygiene

Vaginitis in young girls may occur due to poor hygiene practices. Some girls are too lazy to keep them clean. Their poor hygienic practices sometimes spread the fecal bacteria from anal area into the vagina. This creates an imbalance in the vagina and the result is vaginitis.

Monika Singh

Monika Singh is an expert in computer sciences and has pursued her Master’s degree (M.Tech-CS) from Banasthali University, Rajasthan. Her areas of interest include data structure, software engineering, software testing, and computer graphics. Monika Singh has published a paper on “Modified AODV in MANET,” International Journal of Computer Science and Management Studies (IJCSMS), ISSN: 2231-5268, Vol-14, Issue-05 May 2014, PP:12-18.

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