When there is excessive growth of a particular type of bacteria in the vagina that far outdoes the growth of the normally existing bacteria, the condition is one of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). This abnormal growth of undesired bacteria may result in unpleasant smelling discharge, pain, itching, and burning sensation in the vagina. This infection is more widespread among women of the childbearing age. At least 16% of the women in the US are found to be infected with this problem.
Reason for Bacterial Vaginosis
All women have both good and harmful bacteria present in their vagina. The amount of good bacteria outnumbers the harmful ones. When the harmful bacteria begin to multiply and outnumber the good bacteria, bacterial vaginosis infection arises.
Bacteria lactobacilli dominate the Vaginal flora in normal women. These secrete a natural disinfectant - Hydrogen Peroxide, which maintains the healthy, normal balance of vaginal microorganisms. On the other hand, the vaginal flora of a woman suffering from Bacterial Vaginosis will be dominated by Gardnerella Vaginalis or Mobiluncus or even Escherichia coli from the rectum.
BV is not transmitted through swimming pool, bed linen, toilet seat or touching. Its mode of transmission is primarily through sexual intercourse. Women who have not had sexual intercourse rarely suffer Bacterial Vaginosis. The precise reason behind bacterial vaginosis is not clearly known. Some likely reasons are:
Diagnosis and Treatment
Bacterial vaginosis can be diagnosed through tests performed on the samples of discharge collected from the vagina in the laboratory. Bacterial Vaginosis is usually treated with prescription Antibiotics like Metronidazole or Clindamycin topical creams or the same antibiotics taken orally. Metronidazole kills anaerobic bacteria but does not affect the lactobacilli.
Bacterial vaginosis usually clear up without any treatment but it is better to get it treated through right medications. In particular in women who are pregnant, treatment becomes mandatory as carrying on the infection can lead to birth of premature infants or infants with a low birth weight.
Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis can be kept at bay with following precautions:
Risks of bacterial vaginosis