There are various forms of vaginitis, but the two most common are bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection). Vaginitis is usually characterized by vaginal discharge, vaginal itching and/or irritation, and odor.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV):
Usually with BV there is a change in the appearance of a woman's normal vaginal discharge. The discharge is typically a milky white or grayish color with BV. Secondly, many women report an odorous vaginal discharge like that of fish or ammonia. The malodorous discharge tends to worsen after sexual intercourse or after completing one's menses. However, approximately 50% of the time a woman can be asymptomatic and it is incidentally found and reported on a pap smear.
BV is not a sexually transmitted disease, but rather an imbalance of the pH within the vaginal vault.
Diagnosis is usually made through symptoms and a pelvic exam.
Treatment of BV requires a prescription medication, either taken by mouith or inserting a vaginal cream into the vagina. Usually the partner is not treated unless BV is persistent and reoccurring.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection):
With a yeast infection, most women are symptomatic. Vulvar or vaginal itiching, redness, and irritation are common during a yeast infection. The vaginal discharge is quite characteristic with a yeast infection being a thick, white, curdy discharge (cottage chesse-like). It is common for women to get a yeast infection after taking some antibiotics.
Like BV, a yeast infection is diagnosed by symptoms and/or a pelvic exam.
Treatment of a yeast infection can be with presciption medications or over the counter vaginal creams.