Bacterial vaginosis is a condition of inflammation of vagina caused by bacteria. It disturbs the natural balance of good bacteria leading to inflammation. Women who are in their reproductive years are often targeted by bacterial vaginosis. It can occur due to unsafe sex with multiple partners or due to frequent douching. Generally many good bacteria are present in the vagina along with some bad ones. When the bad bacteria multiples in number it upsets the balance of bacteria causing this problem.
Some of the signs of bacterial vaginosis are given below:
• It produces whitish grey discharge from the vagina
• Vagina will be foul smelling or it may carry a fishy odor and this will be more after having sex
• There will be constant itching on the vagina
• It can cause burning sensation while urinating
• Some women may not have any symptoms at all
If you have any of the above symptoms you should consult your gynecologist immediately.
Risk Factors :
Generally bacterial vaginosis will not cause any other health issues. There are certain conditions by which you can get this infection. Women who are pregnant (more particularly in the first trimester) can end up in miscarriage due to bacterial vaginosis. Women who are undergoing pelvic procedure with this infection will have increased chance of developing pelvic inflammatory disease.
You are likely to develop sexually transmitted infection like HIV when you have bacterial vaginosis and have sex with multiple partners. Women who involve new sex partners frequently can get bacterial vaginosis more often than others. Douching (act of rinsing the vagina with water or other cleansers) can disturb the natural balance of the vagina leading to vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis occurs due to disturbance of natural balance of the vagina. The main reason for this infection is the overgrowth of bad bacteria which will overtake good bacteria called lactobacilli. Having more sex partners and practicing unsafe sex can surely contribute for vaginal infection. Douching very often can also cause bacterial vaginosis.
Your doctor will examine the pelvic region and take a sample of the vaginal liquids for testing in the laboratory. She will collect the history of the patient and ask about the sexual practice. She may also verify the acidity of the vagina by inserting a pH strip into the vagina. Any pH value above 4.5 indicates presence of acidity and bacterial vaginosis.
Since vaginosis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are the right remedy for treating this problem. Medications like Flagyl, or Metrogel is given orally or as topical creams to be applied into the vagina. You should restrain from having alcohol when you are taking these drugs since it may not be that effective with alcohol consumption. Clindamycin cream can be inserted into the vagina. For some women Tinidazole is given orally for destroying bacteria.
It is very much necessary for pregnant women to get treated for bacterial vaginosis since it can cause premature delivery. Follow the instructions of your doctor regarding medications since infection may relapse if you are not taking it for complete term. There is every chance for any woman to get recurrent infections of vaginosis within 4-12 months of initial infection. In that case, your doctor may ask you to take metronidazole for extended periods.
You cannot totally prevent bacterial vaginosis but you can always reduce the risk of getting infected. Avoid douching or cleansing the vagina frequently since it can disturb the natural pH balance of the vagina causing vaginosis. Avoid using scented tampons or pads which can increase vaginal irritation. Have safe sex and avoid having sex with multiple partners.