Doctors usually perform several procedures to confirm the diagnosis which may require the patient to refrain from having sexual intercourse for 24 hours before the appointment. The diagnostic procedures include:
- Medical history: Discusses any prior experience with sexually transmitted infections or other medical problems that affects the immune system.
- Pelvic examination: The doctor visually inspects the vagina for signs of inflammation. A speculum is inserted to help see the area and get a sample of the vaginal discharge.
- Laboratory analysis: A microscopic examination of the vaginal secretions or cervical sample is conducted to confirm the diagnosis and determine the type of vaginitis.
- Check pH levels: The pH value of the vaginal fluid is checked though a pH paper or test stick applied directly into the vaginal wall. A pH test by itself is not a valid diagnostic procedure. However, the increased pH may suggest the type of vaginitis present.
The correct diagnosis is the key to getting the right treatment. Vaginitis is treated depending on the cause or type of the disease. Common treatments include:
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV): Healthcare provider may recommend metronidazole tablets to be taken orally for this form of vaginitis or metronidazole gel to be applied topically. Other treatments include applying clindamycin lotion to the vagina, taking clindamycin tablets orally, or inserting clindamycin capsules into the vagina. Patient may take Tinidazole or secnidazole orally. However, after treatment the bacterial vaginosis may return.
- Yeast infections: Yeast infections can frequently be treated safely and successfully buy over-the-counter medications. It is recommended to consult a doctor first to ensure correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Common antifungal medications are miconazole, clotrimazole, butoconazole or tioconazole. An oral antifungal prescription drug like fluconazole may also be used to treat yeast infections.
- Trichomoniasis: The treatment is required for both women and their sexual partner. Tinidazole (Tindamax) or metronidazole (Flagyl) tablets may be recommended by the healthcare provider to treat this kind of condition.
- Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vaginal atrophy): After examining other risk factors and potential problems, the doctor can prescribe estrogen to restore hormone balance. Estrogen can be applied as tablet, ring, or vaginal cream.
- Noninfectious vaginitis: Identifying the root of the discomfort and eliminating it is the only way to solve this type of vaginitis which can be found in items that are used daily with potential irritants.