About Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis

In desquamative inflammatory vaginitis the lining of the vagina becomes inflamed. The condition is characterized by yellow or greenish-yellow vaginal discharge, often accompanied by pain with intercourse and vulvar irritation. Desquamative inflammatory vaginitis is not a sexually transmitted infection. It is not associated with cancer, diet, or other medical conditions.

What Causes Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis?

The cause of desquamative inflammatory vaginitis is unknown, but it is thought to be either an infection or an autoimmune, inflammatory problem. A lack of estrogen may help to trigger the problem.

Symptoms of Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis

Typical symptoms are a heavy vaginal discharge, usually with little or no odor, painful intercourse, and vulvar irritation and itching. On examination, the opening to the vagina and the vagina itself may look red and inflamed. A yellow or greenish-yellow vaginal discharge is usually present.

Diagnosing Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis

During the examination, samples of vaginal secretions are collected and analyzed to rule out other infections. Under the microscope many white blood cells (pus cells) are seen, and there is an absence of normal vaginal bacteria called lactobacilli. The pH of the vagina is high in women with desquamative inflammatory vaginitis.

Treatment of Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis

Desquamative inflammatory vaginitis is usually treated with a vaginal cream containing clindamycin, an antibiotic that also has anti-inflammatory properties. Sexual partners are not treated, and it is not necessary to refrain from sexual activity during treatment as long as it is comfortable.

Usually desquamative inflammatory vaginitis is cured after one course of medication, but it may recur and require repeated or prolonged treatment. Another treatment that may be prescribed is a hydrocortisone vaginal cream that is inserted into the vagina every night for four weeks. We will often add estrogen, either initially or at a later visit, to decrease the chances of recurrence.

A follow-up appointment will be scheduled after treatment is completed to be sure that the desquamative inflammatory vaginitis has been resolved.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.