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Can vaginitis lead to other health problems?

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Without treatment, symptoms of vaginitis can worsen. Some types of vaginitis can increase a woman's risk of other health problems.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) increases a woman's risk of getting other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, if she is exposed to the pathogens that cause them.1 BV also is associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious disease that can harm a woman's reproductive organs and cause infertility.2 Having BV increases a woman's risk of preterm labor and preterm birth. Women who have it also are more likely to get an infection after having surgery such as an abortion or hysterectomy.1

Trichomoniasis increases a woman's risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.3 Trichomoniasis also may cause preterm labor or preterm birth.4


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Bacterial vaginosis—CDC fact sheet. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm [top]
  2. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2008). Bacterial vaginosis. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/bacterialVaginosis/Pages/default.aspx [top]
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Trichomoniasis—CDC fact sheet. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm [top]
  4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2009). Trichomoniasis. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/trichomoniasis/Pages/default.aspx [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/15/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 05/21/2013
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology