Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally present in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance.
Women of childbearing age are most susceptible to bacterial vaginosis, but it can affect women of any age. The cause isn’t fully understood, but certain activities, such as unprotected sex or frequent showering, increase your risk.
Signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can include:
a. Fine, gray, white or green vaginal discharge.
b. Nauseating “fishy” vaginal odor.
D. Burning during urination.
e. Many women with bacterial vaginosis have no signs or symptoms.
When to consult your doctor?
Make an appointment with your doctor if:
a. You have new vaginal discharge associated with odor or fever. Your doctor can help you determine the cause and identify the signs and symptoms.
b. You’ve had vaginal infections before, but the color and consistency of your discharge seems different this time.
vs. You have multiple sexual partners or a recent new partner. Sometimes the signs and symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection resemble those of bacterial vaginosis.
D. You try to self-medicate for a yeast infection with an over-the-counter treatment and your symptoms persist.
Bacterial vaginosis results from the overgrowth of one of the many bacteria naturally present in your vagina. Usually the “good” bacteria (lactobacilli) outnumber the “bad” bacteria (anaerobes). But if there are too many anaerobic bacteria, they upset the natural balance of microorganisms in your vagina and cause bacterial vaginosis.
Risk factors for bacterial vaginosis include:
a. Having multiple sexual partners or a new sexual partner. Doctors don’t fully understand the connection between sexual activity and bacterial vaginosis, but the condition occurs more often in women who have multiple sexual partners or a new sexual partner.
b. Bacterial vaginosis also occurs more frequently in women who have sex with women.
c.The practice of rinsing your vagina with water or a cleansing agent (Douching) upsets the natural balance of your vagina. This can lead to an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria and cause bacterial vaginosis. Since the vagina is self-cleaning, douching is not necessary.
D. If your natural vaginal environment does not produce enough good lactobacillus bacteria, you are more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis does not usually cause complications. Sometimes having bacterial vaginosis can lead to:
a. Premature birth: In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis is linked to premature deliveries and low birth weight babies.
B. Sexually transmitted infections: Bacterial vaginosis makes women more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, herpes simplex virus, chlamydia, or gonorrhea. If you have HIV, bacterial vaginosis increases the chances that you pass the virus on to your partner.
vs. Risk of infection after gynecological surgery: Bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of developing post-surgical infection after procedures such as hysterectomy or dilation and curettage (D&C).
D. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Bacterial vaginosis can sometimes cause PID, an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes which can increase the risk of infertility.
To help prevent bacterial vaginosis:
has. Do not shower: your vagina does not require any cleaning other than a normal bath. Frequent douching upsets the vaginal balance and can increase your risk of vaginal infection. Douching does not solve a vaginal infection.
b. Avoiding a sexually transmitted infection: Use a male latex condom, limit your number of sexual partners, or abstain from sex to minimize your risk of sexually transmitted infection.
vs. Minimize vaginal irritation. Use mild, non-deodorant soaps and unscented tampons or pads.
To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may:
a.Ask questions about your medical history.
b.Your doctor may ask you about any previous vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections.
vs. Perform a pelvic exam: During a pelvic exam, your doctor visually examines your vagina for signs of infection and inserts two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen with the other hand to check if your pelvic organs show signs that may indicate illness. .
d. Take a sample of vaginal secretions: this can be done to check for the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria in your vaginal flora.
d.Your doctor may examine vaginal secretions under a microscope, looking for “Clue Cells” vaginal cells covered in bacteria which are a sign of bacterial vaginosis.
e.Test your vaginal pH: Your doctor can check the acidity of your vagina by placing a pH test strip in your vagina. A vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher is a sign of bacterial vaginosis.
To treat bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may prescribe one of the following medications:
a. Metronidazole (Flagyl, Metrogel-Vaginal, others): This medication can be taken as a pill orally (by mouth). Metronidazole is also available as a topical gel that you insert into your vagina.
Caution: To reduce the risk of stomach upset, abdominal pain, or nausea while using this medication, avoid alcohol during treatment and for at least one day after treatment ends. Check the treatment instructions.
b. Clindamycin (Cleocin, Clindesse, others): This medication is available as a cream that you insert into your vagina.
Caution: Clindamycin cream can weaken latex condoms during treatment and for at least three days after you stop using the cream.
c.Tinidazole (Tindamax): This medication is taken orally.
Caution: Tinidazole has the same potential for stomach upset and nausea as oral metronidazole, so avoid alcohol during treatment and for at least three days after treatment ends.
d.Secnidazole (Solosec): This is an antibiotic that you take by mouth in a single dose. The medicine comes in the form of a packet of granules that you sprinkle on a soft food, such as applesauce, pudding or yogurt. You eat the mixture within 30 minutes, being careful not to crunch or chew the pellets.
It is usually not necessary to treat the male sexual partner of an infected woman, but bacterial vaginosis can spread between female sexual partners. Female partners should get tested and may need treatment. premature birth or low birth weight.
Take your medicine or use the cream or gel for as long as your doctor has prescribed, even if your symptoms go away. Stopping treatment early may increase the risk of recurrence.
It is common for bacterial vaginosis to come back within 3 to 12 months, despite treatment. Researchers are exploring treatments for recurrent bacterial vaginosis. If your symptoms return soon after treatment, talk to your doctor about treatments. One option may be the prolonged use of metronidazole therapy.
A self-help approach is Lactobacillus colonization therapy – which attempts to increase the number of good bacteria in your vagina and restore a balanced vaginal environment – possibly accomplished by eating certain types of yogurt or other foods containing lactobacilli. Although current research shows that probiotic therapy may have some benefits, more research is needed on the subject.
Prepare for your appointment
Try scheduling your date on a day when you don’t have your period. This way, your doctor or primary care gynecologist can observe and assess your vaginal discharge without the menstrual discharge getting in your way. Avoid using tampons and vaginal deodorant sprays, and don’t shower or have sex for 24 hours before your appointment.