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Bacterial Vaginosis

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Bacterial Vaginosis
This informative article on bacterial vaginosis throws light on symptoms, treatment options and possible causes for this condition.

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.


Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms


  • Discharge of foul, fish-like or musty odor secretions from the cervical glands of the vagina. Normal vaginal secretions will be clear or white. In BV The discharge is either white or grey in color and is usually thin.
  • The main indication or sign of bacterial vaginosis is the presence of abnormal discharge from the vagina.
  • This discharge with foul smell becomes more prominent after having sexual intercourse.
  • After passing urine symptoms of burning and itching exists and in few cases there is pain too.
  • In few cases there are no visible signs or indications of any infection at all.

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:


  • Having sex with a new partner or one or more partners.

  • Use of Intra Uterine Device (IUD) as a method of contraception.

  • Douching

  • Bacterial vaginosis can occur in any woman who has an active sex life.

  • Bacterial vaginosis is not spread from toilet seats, swimming pools or from beds.

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:


  • Do not douche.
  • Avoid sex with multiple partners.
  • Be self-disciplined and complete the entire course of medicine prescribed for the infection.
  • Get your vagina examined by a doctor immediately if you feel you have any type of unusual discharge.

Risks of bacterial vaginosis


  • In pregnant women, risks are high for preterm deliveries, underweight infants or miscarriages.
  • There are chances of acute pelvic infection after the birth of the baby.
  • Chances of developing STD (sexually transmitted diseases) are high.
  • The condition can also lead to PID (pelvic inflammatory diseases).
  • Women with this infection are more susceptible to HIV virus.

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