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:

  • Vulvodynia or Vulvar Vestibulitis
  • Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis (DIV)
  • Vulvar Eczema
  • Vulvar Psoriasis
  • Vulvar manifestation of Crohn's Disease
  • Vaginismus or Levator Ani Syndrome
  • Pudendal Neuralgia
  • Pruritis Vulvae
  • Plasma Cell Vulvitis
  • Aphthous Ulcers and Behcet's Disease
  • Fixed Drug Reactions
  • Dyspareunia or Painful Intercourse

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:

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

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.