Vagina, sore and swollen
Vaginitis means inflammation (soreness and swelling) of the vagina.
Many women with vaginitis also get abnormal vaginal discharge, itching or burning in the vagina, and discomfort during sex or when urinating.
This page lists the possible causes of vaginitis, linking out to more detailed information on these conditions. This guide should not be used to self-diagnose your condition, but should give you an idea of what is causing your vaginitis.
See your GP if you suspect the cause of your sore vagina is an infection. You can read our information on abnormal vaginal discharge to find out if you have a vaginal infection, and if so, what this is likely to be.
Causes of vaginitis
Vaginitis may be caused by any of the following infections or irritants:
- thrush, a fungal infection that commonly affects the vagina
- bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection of the vagina
- trichomoniasis - a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite
- chemical irritation, for example from perfumed bubble bath, soap or fabric conditioner, or from spermicide (a chemical that kills sperm, sometimes found on condoms)
- washing inside your vagina (see box, left)
- chlamydia - an STI caused by bacteria
- genital herpes - an STI caused by the herpes simplex virus
You can click on the above links to learn more about these conditions.