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(colpitis), an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the vagina. Vaginitis is often combined with inflammation of the external genitalia; that is, it may occur as vulvovaginitis.
Vaginitis is caused by the penetration into the vagina of various microbes or parasites (gonococci, trichomonads, and pinworms) from contaminated underclothing or dirty hands or after failure of one partner to observe the rules of sexual hygiene, and so forth. It may also occur after prolonged mechanical irritation of the mucous membrane (for example, prolonged wearing of a girdle for prolapse of the uterus). Vaginitis may develop in girls age three to ten when the vagina becomes infected by the blood flow (in diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles, and other diseases).
The symptoms of the disease include swelling and reddening of the mucous membrane of the vagina, purulent leukorrhea (sometimes with an admixture of blood), a sensation of heaviness in the lower abdomen, a burning sensation, and pruritus of the external genitalia. Among the symptoms of vulvovaginitis are a reddening of the external genitalia that often spreads to the thighs and buttocks, purulent discharges, and pruritus. Senile vaginitis may arise after age-related changes (shriveling and dryness of the mucous membrane of the vagina). Treatment involves removal of the causes of vaginitis. In cases of trichomonad vaginitis both spouses are usually treated at the same time.
Vaginitis in animals results from injury to the vagina during labor and mating as well as from the penetration of pathogenic microorganisms into the vaginal mucous membranes. The course of vaginitis may be acute or chronic. The vaginal mucous membrane in sick animals is edematous and hemorrhagic. In suppurative vaginitis, the body temperature is raised, urination becomes painful, the animal’s general condition deteriorates, and, in cows, the milk yield declines. Putrescent vaginitis often ends in death. Vaginitis, especially if chronic, may impair the animal’s reproductive capacity. Treatment involves washing the vagina with disinfectants and irrigation with antibiotics. Vaginitis may be prevented by the observance of hygienic regulations during parturition, mating, and artificial insemination of animals.
REFERENCESStudentsov, A. P. Veterinarnoe akusherstvo i ginekologiia, 3rd. ed. Moscow, 1961.
Gubarevich, la. G. “Vaginit.” In Veterinarnaia entsiklopediia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.