Definition - What does Vaginitis mean?

Vaginitis is a collective term used to describe any vaginal disorder caused by infection, inflammation or changes to its normal bacterial flora. Although the three most common causes include yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomonas (a sexually transmitted Infection), many other disorders fit under the classification.

Some forms of vaginitis may be simple in regards to diagnosis and treatment, but there are some known to potentially increase the risk factors for female infertility, specifically by causing the blockage of the fallopian tubes.

FertilitySmarts explains Vaginitis

The vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are all connected to create the female reproductive system. When the ovary releases an egg, it travels down the fallopian tubes to the uterus propelled by little finger like structures known as fimbriae.

Vaginitis, more specifically infectious ones such as from untreated STIs gonorrhea and chlamydia, can cause infertility by causing damage of the fimbriae, thereby preventing movement of the egg. It can also inhibit fertility by both thickening the tubes and filling them with thick pus (pyosalpinx); this is known as Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

The vagina itself has normal bacterial flora, that is, bacteria that is native and not harmful to the body. In bacterial vaginosis (BV), this normal flora is disrupted and replaced by other bacteria that is not native to the vagina.

This disruption and overgrowth of bacterial is leads clinical symptoms described as a thin grayish-white vaginal discharge with a “fishy odor.”.Although research is still being conducted to figure out how BV causes infertility, studies do show a high correlation with infertility, especially in women who have had untreated and recurrent cases.

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