What Is Bacterial Vaginosis? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

This vaginal infection is frequently seen in pregnant women.

Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection that can be caused by a bacterial imbalance in the vagina or is transmitted through sexual contact.

It is the most common type of vaginal disease in American women.

And it’s surprisingly common in pregnant women: Sixteen percent of expectant mothers in the United States have bacterial vaginosis.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacteria are found naturally in the vagina, but there are both “good” and “bad” types of bacteria.

There is a careful balance between the good and bad bacteria that live in the vagina, and when that balance is lost, bacterial vaginosis can occur.

The cause of this bacterial imbalance is not known, but there is some evidence that it could be a sexually transmitted disease.

“We know that women who have multiple sexual partners or who have a new sexual partner are at higher risk of developing bacterial vaginosis,” said MD, MD, MD, MD, of the Institute for Sexual Health Applications. , Says Jennifer A. Shepherd. In Austin, Texas.

“These women’s male partners carry these bacteria in the penis, so there is evidence of sex exchange.”

But, says Dr. Shafford, sex is not the only way to infect. “Women who have not had sex all their lives can still get bacterial vaginosis.”

Signs and Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

Some women have bacterial vaginosis and have no symptoms.

But when symptoms do appear, they may include:

Vaginal discharge that may be white or gray in color
Exhale with a strong, foul odor
Vaginal odor that is especially strong with fishy odor after sex
Itching in the vagina
Painful or irritated urination

Risk Factors and Complications

“Having sex with someone who has bacterial vaginosis, as well as having more than one sexual partner or a new sexual partner, can put you at risk for the disease,” Shrofford said.

Douching can also increase the risk, as it disrupts the balance of bacteria in the vagina.

If the infection is not treated, the complications and health risks of bacterial vaginosis can be serious.

Untreated vagina can cause:

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) PID is an inflammation of the female reproductive system, including the uterus, fallopian tubes and even the ovaries.

Shefford notes that PID can cause many complications, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

Pregnancy complications Bacterial vaginosis Pregnant women may be at higher risk of having a low birth weight baby, Shefford says, as well as premature rupture of membranes (your water breaks down very quickly).

Women who have bacterial vaginosis have a higher risk of HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia than other sexually transmitted infections.

Increased risk of postoperative infections Women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to develop an infection after surgery that affects the reproductive system, such as a hysterectomy or abortion.

Treatment and Medication Options for Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is easily diagnosed using a vaginal fluid sample and is treated with a simple round of antibiotics.

Shefford notes that antibiotics can be given orally or in the form of a topical cream or ointment in a vagina.

Even after antibiotic treatment, bacterial vaginosis can recur. It is important to make sure you consult all antibiotics.

Treatment of male sexual partners is generally not recommended.

Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is not always preventable, but you can reduce the risk of the disease becoming contagious and spreading.

Avoid douching to help balance bacteria in the vagina and reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis.

Good hygiene can also help prevent bacterial vaginosis.

Wash the anus and vagina daily, and wipe from front to back after urinating or defecating.

Wear cotton underwear and pants that fit loosely in the crotch to allow air to flow and prevent moisture conditions, which can encourage infection.

Bacterial vaginosis is a very common infection, but a few simple precautions can help reduce your risk.

And women who experience symptoms should remember to seek treatment right away to prevent unnecessary health problems caused by bacterial vaginosis.

What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?
What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?

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