Bacteria, yeast, parasites and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are all causes of vulvovaginitis. The condition also may be a reaction to the chemical ingredients of soaps, perfumes and lotions, as well as allergens in the environment. Poor hygiene is another factor leading to infection.
The causes of vulvovaginitis include:
- Candida albicans, a bacteria responsible for yeast infections
- Bacterial vaginosis, an excessive growth of certain types of bacteria
- Trichomonas vaginitis, an STI
- Soaps, bubble baths, feminine sprays, perfume and vaginal contraceptives
- Heat rash from tight-fitting or non-absorbent clothing
- Reduced estrogen resulting in a thinning of skin and dryness
- Chronic skin conditions
- Foreign bodies such as lost tampons
Poor genital hygiene may lead to non-specific vulvovaginitis associated with a type of bacteria found in feces.
Another form of the condition is gonococcal vulvovaginitis, an STI caused by neisseria gonorrhoeae, the organism responsible for gonorrhea.