Chronic Vaginitis

An article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published in 1999 showed that most gynecologists did not do an adequate evaluation for vaginal infections. Unfortunately, that's still true.

The study explained why so many women are not cured of their vaginitis. Infection is the most common cause of vaginitis: itching, burning, discharge, odor or vaginal pain on intercourse. Doctors should insert a Q tip into the vagina, add a fraction of a drop of water and then look at the fluid under a microscope. This was not done in 42% of visits for vaginitis.

If a doctor looks in the microscope and sees yeast, trichomonas or bacterial vaginosis, he can often cure her by prescribing the appropriate antibiotic. If he finds none, he should look for warts and check for infections with bacteria, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and so forth. He should perhaps do a biopsy to rule out skin disease, a vinegar-aided colposcopy to check for warts, and look for a contact irritant such as contraceptive jellies, bubble bath or perfumes. This was not done in 46 percent of the visits. Even if all tests fail to reveal a cause, many women can be cured when they and their partners take a long-acting erythromycin or tetracycline for a couple of weeks.

HC Wiesenfeld, I Macio. The infrequent use of office-based diagnostic tests for vaginitis.American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1999, Vol 181, Iss 1, pp 39-41.

Checked 1/12/17

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