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Vagina, sore and swollen

Click here to go to the NHS Choices website


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.

The materials in this website are provided by Medicine Chest and NHS Choices.  Neither Co-operative Group Limited or Co-operative Healthcare Limited (trading as The Co-operative Pharmacy or otherwise) shall be in any way responsible or liable for its content.

The materials in this website are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor.  The website does not have answers to all problems and answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone.  If you notice medical symptoms or feel unwell, you should consult your doctor.  For further information, consult the terms and conditions.

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