Women Health

Bacterial Vaginosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis, as the name indicates, is a vaginal infection caused by bacteria. This is a common infection that can result from an overgrowth of bacteria already living inside.

Bactetial vaginosis, vaginal infection

BV may cause a ‘fishy’ vaginal odor or vaginal itching in some women. And there may be no symptoms in a few women.

It is a common inflammatory condition and treatable, but if you don’t keep an eye on this, it can cause complications and increase the chances of STDs.

Bacterial vaginosis causes

Your vagina naturally contains a few different types of bacteria. The body normally maintains a balance of these bacteria to maintain a good environment for your vagina, but sometimes this delicate balance can be disturbed and sudden growth of one type of bacteria can occur. This causes inflammation leading to bacterial vaginosis.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

Bactetial vaginosis

Generally, bacterial vaginosis doesn’t cause symptoms to many but a few of you may experience:

  1. Vaginal odor
  2. Mild to moderate vaginal discharge
  3. Painful urination or burning sensation
  4. Vulvar irritation

Physical findings

  1. Gray, thin, and homogeneous vaginal discharge
  2. Cervicitis
  3. The increased light reflex of the vaginal walls

Signs and symptoms of bv are similar to other vaginal infections. Consulting your physician or a gynecologist is a better idea.

Who can get bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Anyone who has a vagina can get bacterial vaginosis. And you can get a BV even if you are not sexually active, although sexually active women are at higher risk. Here are a few more factors that add to the chances of having BV

  1. Recent antibiotic use
  2. Low estrogen levels
  3. Wearing IUD
  4. Douching
  5. Bubble bath
  6. Multiple sexual partners
  7. Pregnancy

Is bacterial vaginosis contagious?

No BV is not contagious but sexual activity can definitely cause you an infection. You must practice safe sex.

  • Use condoms
  • Wash after sexual intercourse

Difference between bacterial vaginosis (BV) and a yeast infection

BV and yeast, both are vaginal infections but BV can be a little dominant in its features.

  • Bacterial vaginosis smells distinctly
  • Vaginal yeast infection may cause vaginal irritation but BV does not
  • Over the counter, treatment works for yeast infection but you need to see a gynecologist for treatment of bv

Practising good vaginal and vulvar hygiene can minimise the chance of vaginal infections whether it is yeast or BV.

How to diagnose?

BV, yeast infection

If you have BV symptoms, it will be best to consult a gynecologist or a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. You may go through

  • A vaginal examination
  • Vaginal fluid sample test

for a proper diagnosis.

How to treat bacterial vaginosis ?

Generally in some cased BV clears up on it’s own and doesn’t require any treatment, but a few women may require a prescription antibiotics. Commonly clindamycin or metrogyl is used to in pill or gel form.

If you are on the antibiotic course then make sure you complete the course otherwise your body can be resistant to particular antibiotic.

How to treat BV at home?

You can try a few home remedies to clear off the vaginal infection. Make sure you discuss it with your healthcare provider.

  1. Practice vaginal hygiene habits
  2. Eat more probiotic-containg food such as yogur
  3. Limit alcohol
  4. Wear breathable panties
  5. Use unscented vaginal products

Few home remedies for vaginal infection can also help. If you don’t notice an improvement in a week time then you should probably consult a health care provider.

How can I lower my risk of bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Practicing vaginal hygiene and by making few changes you can easily prevent bacterial vaginosis.

  1. Wear cotton or cotton-lined underwear. Follow underwear rules for healthy vagina.
  2. Avoid douching
  3. Wipe from front to back
  4. Scented lube, condoms, and tampons should be avoided
  5. Practice safe sex
  6. Always pee after sex
  7. Use body-safe sex toys
  8. Scented lube, condoms, and tampons should be avoided
  9. Change out of sweaty or wet clothes ASAP
  10. Limit alcohol and smoking
  11. Use probiotics
  12. Do kegel exercise

Bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy

Bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy

If you get vaginitis during pregnancy, it can increase your chances of premature delivery with low birth weight. BV also increases the chance of other vaginal infections postpartum.

You should take proper antibiotics after consisting your gynecologist to avoid associated complications of BV in pregnancy.

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