Jefferson University Hospitals

Conditions & Symptoms

Although vaginitis is a commonly used term and assumed to refer to yeast infections, it is actually a range of conditions that cause vulvovaginal symptoms. Often, patients have multiple conditions contributing to their symptoms.

Conditions we diagnosis, include:

  • Aphthous Ulcers and Behcet's Disease
  • Atrophic Vaginitis (also known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause)
  • Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) (including persistent or recurrent infections)
  • Candida Vaginitis or Vaginal Yeast Infection (including persistent or recurrent infections)
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis (DIV)
  • Dyspareunia or Painful Intercourse
  • Fixed Drug Reactions
  • Genital Herpes and Herpetic Neuralgia
  • Lichen Planus
  • Lichen Sclerosus
  • Plasma Cell Vulvitis
  • Pruritis Vulvae
  • Pudendal Neuralgia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Vaginismus or Levator Ani Syndrome
  • Vulvar Eczema
  • Vulvar manifestation of Crohn's Disease
  • Vulvar Psoriasis
  • Vulvodynia or Vulvar Vestibulitis

Your vaginitis specialist is skilled in matching symptoms to causes. When disorders have overlapping symptoms the combination of a thorough physical exam coupled with targeted laboratory testing, help pinpoint the cause of a disorder.

Common symptoms include:

  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Burning
  • Discomfort
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Odor or unpleasant smell
  • Pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • Rash
  • Raw or cracked skin
  • Rawness
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Sores
  • Swelling
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal dryness

Infectious Vaginitis

Although the most common causes of infectious vaginitis are the triad of bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and trichomoniasis, an estimated 30 percent of women with vaginal complaints may go without a diagnosis after a standard evaluation.

Even when the diagnoses are clear, it can be challenging for providers to manage women with recurrent or refractory symptoms that fail to respond to standard conventional therapy. For women with infectious causes of vaginitis, we have been at the forefront of developing protocols to control them.

Other Conditions

The conditions we treat go well beyond the infectious causes of vaginitis. Some of these, such as lichen planus or genital Crohn’s, may require co-management with dermatology and/or gastroenterology to develop a successful treatment plan. Therefore, our center works closely with other specialists to fully address the needs of our patients.

Some women may have premalignant conditions such as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia or actual vulvar cancer that require the care of a gynecologic oncologist. Conversely, for patients with vulvar cancer due to the presence of underlying lichen sclerosus, gynecologic oncologists will often refer their patients to our team.

Patients with vulvodynia, a condition which affects about 15 percent of our patients, often have other painful conditions such as interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pudendal neuralgia and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and may require evaluations by urogynecology, interventional radiology, pain management and pelvic floor physical therapy.