BV or bacterial vaginosis is referred to as a condition where the natural bacterial balance of the vagina is disturbed and substituted with the excess of another kind of bacteria. The common bacterial vaginosis symptoms include discharge, pain, odor, burning or itching.
Bacterial vaginosis is a very common vaginal infection in women who have reached the age of childbearing. It is common in pregnant women in theUS.
The reasons of bacterial vaginosis are not totally understood, but it is associated with discrepancy in the bacterial balance which is usually found in the vagina. This place usually contains the ‘good’ bacteria and less of ‘harmful’ bacteria. BV is caused due to an excess of harmful bacteria. Much has not been known about the reasons why women get bacterial vaginosis.
The role of bacteria in causing BV has not been fully understood. Any woman can be infected with BV. There are certain behaviors or activities that may upset the usual bacterial balance in the vagina. These actions include douching or engaging in sex with multiple partners.
The role of sexual activity in leading to bacterial vaginosis has not yet been understood. The bacterial vaginosis symptoms do not show when women acquire contact with bedding, toilet seats, and swimming pools or by touching the adjacent objects.
Women who have never had intercourse may be affected as well.
Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms and Signs
Women with bacterial vaginosis may experience abnormal vaginal discharge accompanied with unpleasant odor. Some women may notice a fish-like smell, after intercourse. The discharge is generally grey or white and can be thin. Women may also experience a burning sensation during urination or itching outside the vagina, although in most women, the symptoms may not be present at all. BV can however enhance your susceptibility to gonorrhea, Chlamydia, herpes, HIV and other STDs.
Bacterial Vaginosis Complications
Usually, BV does not lead to any complication, although there may be a few serious risks:
- BV enhances the chances of acquiring HIV infection if the woman is exposed to the HIV virus
- BV exposes the chances of an HIV-infected woman to pass on the disease to the sexual partner
- BV is often followed with an increased development of infection, along with surgical processes such as abortion or hysterectomy
- BV in pregnant woman may increase pregnancy complications including a preterm delivery
- BV enhances the chances of acquiring other STDs such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HSV or the herpes simplex virus
If the bacterial vaginosis symptoms are recurrent, the woman may have a premature baby, with low weight. The bacteria which cause BV can at times affect the uterus and fallopian tubes. The infection is known as pelvic inflammatory disease which may lead to damaged fallopian tubes or infertility which consequently increases the risks of an ectopic pregnancy.
The latter can be life threatening wherein the fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, generally in the fallopian tube that can lead to a rupture.
Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosis and Treatment
Your health care provider should study the vagina carefully for signs of bacterial vaginosis and conduct a lab test on a vaginal fluid sample for the presence of BV bacteria. Although the symptoms are usually cleared without treatment, women should seek for a cure to avoid unnecessary complications. Although males may not require being treated, the infection can spread among females.
Treatment is crucial for pregnant women, especially those who have had low weight babies or premature births. They should be examined carefully, irrespective of the symptoms displayed.
Experts also recommend treatment for women who are planning to undergo an abortion or a hysterectomy so as to reduce the chances of developing an infection. Antibiotics such as clindamycin and metronidazole are suggested for treatment as these can be used for pregnant moms too, although the dosage for the latter differs. HIV positive women should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV negative.
Prevention of bacterial vaginosis symptoms is possible, even if scientists do not entirely understand the condition. BV is often associated with having a new partner or multiple partners. You can maintain the natural balance of good bacteria by practicing abstinence, limiting your sex partners, abstaining from douching and applying medicines.