Vaginal inflammation and cancer
Vaginal inflammation and cancer
Vaginal inflammation is the most common reason for visiting a gynecologist. This is an unpleasant condition and is manifested by itching and burning of the vagina and often itchy discharge. Along with this disease inflammation of the vulva, or external genitals, occurs. Vaginal cancer is rather rare, often occurs due to cervical cancer. Here it is more than clear that early detection and treatment increases the chance of recovery.
The vagina is an important organ of the female reproductive system. It is a flexible muscular tube. The vagina mediates the connection between the uterus and the vulva or the external environment. It discharges menstrual blood, a newborn passes through it into the world and also of course it functions during sexual intercourse. On the vaginal mucosa live many microorganisms and one of them is lactobacillus. Lactobacillus keeps a naturally acidic pH in the vagina, and together with the local immune system, prevents the development of inflammation.
Vaginal inflammation or vaginitis or colpitis are very common diseases that every woman at least once in her life experiences. As already mentioned, in the vagina there are many microorganisms whose proliferation is maintained in equilibrium. However, if this balance is disturbed by hormonal influences (menstruation, pregnancy, hormonal contraception), antibiotic use, menstrual tampons, sexual activity, overall health or excessive intake of sweets, certain microorganisms overgrow, which causes vaginal inflammation.
Causes of vaginal inflammation
The most common cause of vaginal inflammation is yeast infection or mycosis. It is caused by a yeast Candida albicans, which normally lives in the vagina. If the natural defenses are weekend by stress, illness or antibiotics, this will cause its overgrowth. Another cause of vaginal inflammation is a protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis that is sexually transmitted and the partner is also infected. Another cause can be a bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis together with other bacteria in the vagina which overgrow.
Symptoms of vaginal inflammation
The basic symptoms are burning and itching, discharge, burning and cutting during urination, vaginal dryness and pain during sexual intercourse. The individual symptoms vary according to the type of the causative. In mycosis the discharge is curd-like, whitish, lumpy and smells like yeast. Furthermore, severe itching of the external genitals is present and they may be red and swollen. Vaginal inflammation caused by Trichomonas manifests itself by itching and burning in the vagina and sometimes during urination. The discharge is thin, white-gray and frothy. Vaginal inflammation caused by the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis has a runny discharge stinking of fish, which is stronger after sexual intercourse.
Diagnosis of vaginal inflammation
The basic examination methods for vaginal inflammation are a gynecological examination with mirrors, laboratory tests, pH and the amine test. During the gynecological examination the doctor examines the external genitals and the vagina along with the cervix. He performs a swap of the vaginal wall and then sends it to the lab. There, under the microscope is determined the cause of the inflammation. By determining the pH, the doctor detects if the balance in the vagina is disturbed. The amine test is performed by adding drops of potassium hydroxide to the discharge and then the emergence of fish odor is assessed.
Treatment of vaginal inflammation
When treating vaginal inflammation drugs from the group of antifungal agents are administrated, either locally in the form of ointments or suppositories, or generally in the form of tablets. Long-term treatment is necessary especially if the disease returns. In most cases, it is necessary to treat also the sexual partner. Furthermore, antibiotics are used and in some cases, corticosteroids.
Prevention of vaginal inflammation
Appropriate preventive measures include thorough drying of intimate parts, wearing comfortable and breathable underwear, appropriate use of intimate cosmetics and thorough treatment of diabetes.
Vaginal cancer is rare; it represents only 1-2% of all gynecological cancers. Its incidence did not change in the last decades. Most often it occurs in women in the age 50-70 years. In most cases it is a tumor that spread here from the uterus or vulva, or external genitals. Rarely is the origin of the cancer directly in the vagina. As with cancers of any other organs it is a general rule that the earlier the detection of vaginal cancer and its treatment, the better the chance of recovery.
Risk factors for vaginal cancer development
The risk factors for vaginal cancer are HPV infection, smoking and cancer of the cervix or vulva. HPV virus, or also papilloma virus is a common virus in our population. It is sexually transmitted and the body can usually deal with it. The problem is that there are many types of viruses, and some may give rise to cancer, most often of the cervix.
Symptoms of vaginal cancer
Symptoms of vaginal cancer are pain in the lower abdomen, watery discharge, irregular bleeding and problems during urination or constipation.
Diagnosis of vaginal cancer
For the diagnosis of vaginal cancer gynecological, laboratory, ultrasound and possibly X-ray examination is performed. During gynecological examination the doctor checks the external genitals and the vagina. Using mirrors he also examines the cervix, whether it is not also affected by cancer. Furthermore the doctor examines the inguinal nodes. Laboratory tests determine the nature of the suspicious tissue sample. Blood samples are also analyzed, which can confirm the presence of cancer. During ultrasound examination the doctor observes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and other organs in the pelvis. If the diagnosis is positive it is necessary to examine other organs because of the potential risk that the cancer has spread outside the vagina.
Treatment of vaginal cancer
The treatment of vaginal cancer combines surgical operation, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Surgical treatment involves the removal of the tumor in the vagina and also a radical removal of not only the vagina but also the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and the appropriate lymph nodes. Radiotherapy or irradiation is the basis of treatment of vaginal cancer in an advanced stage, as well as chemotherapy or aggressive anticancer drugs. After therapy the patients are regularly checked every three months for three years and then the intervals extend. In many cases the vaginal cancer is detected in time and therefore you should regularly undergo gynecological examinations.
Symptoms of gynecological diseases are very similar, therefore every woman with pain in the lower abdomen, irregular menstruation, discharge and other symptoms should consult her gynecologist. If it is a serious disease, then early diagnosis improves the prognosis of the disease.