What is Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis?

>> Thursday, December 5, 2013

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Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis is a vaginal syndrome that is very rare, usually seen in women in their late 30's & 40's, and is thought to be associated with estrogen imbalance and lack of the normal vaginal flora, especially Lactobacillus.

The good thing is that it is treatable. It affects the inside of the vagina and the area called the "vestibule" which is the very opening around the vagina. It typically causes a watery, grey-whitish or even a yellow-green discharge.

We have discussed how the vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. But with this Vaginitis, the vagina loses the ability to self-clean because it does not produce the normal amounts of Lactobacillus needed to keep the pH low (acidic). When this happens, vaginal estrogen is also thrown off balance. Estrogen is important for maintaining tissue integrity and healing.

Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis means the mucosa and skin around the vagina continues to slough off and become inflamed. This makes the opening and inside of the vagina raw and irritated, which in turn can make sex painful and using tampons impossible. It also creates a continuous discharge, as the vagina tries to heal itself.

Luckily, doctors can provide treatment with topical Clindamycin, an antibiotic, that along with hydrocortisone (or Clobetasol, a stronger steroid cream), function as anti-inflammatories. This, along with avoiding douching can help restore the natural vaginal flora and Lactobacillus. If there is no bacteria, virus or other organism associated with this, the Clindamycin is for healing & inflammation only. Estrogen Vaginal cream can also be helpful, as directed by your physician.

Note, if you are worried or concerned that your partner may not be faithful and that it may be somehow linked to an STD, then be reassured that Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis is not associated with past or present STDs. It is also not a precursor to cancer. But there has been some question as to whether Estrogen may be a trigger in setting it off or that it may be linked to Autoimmune disorders. You should always talk to your doctor to discuss screening for these.

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