Bacterial Vaginosis: Types, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Overgrowth of bacteria causes bacterial vaginosis (BV), a vaginal illness. A vaginal infection known as BV is the most frequent among women of childbearing age. Multiple sexual partners and frequent douching are risk factors for developing this disorder in women. While BV isn’t classified as a sexually transmitted disease, it can be carried from one sexual partner to another.

BV is brought on by an imbalance in the natural flora of the vaginal cavity. An infection can occur if the harmful bacteria overwhelm the beneficial bacteria. Sexual activity, douching, and smoking are suggested to be contributing factors to this dysbalance.

Antibiotics can be used to treat BV, either orally or vaginally, as a cream or gel. Symptoms usually subside within a few days for most women, although they may return for a small percentage. To avoid the recurrence of BV, it is essential to prevent dousing, smoking, and having several sexual partners. 

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Types of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of symptoms. Different types have varying degrees of seriousness, so knowing your style is critical. Listed here are a few of the most frequently encountered:

1. Atrophic vaginal infection: Postmenopausal women are more likely to get an atrophic vaginal infection, the most prevalent form of bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis can cause symptoms such as vaginal itching and burning.

2. Gardnerella vaginalis: It is caused by a bacterium called Gardnerella vaginitis, commonly seen in the genital area. It is the most frequent kind of bacterial vaginosis in sexually active women. Vaginal discharge with a fishy odor is one of the symptoms.

3. Trichomoniasis: Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasite that causes a sexually transmitted infection known as Trichomoniasis. In the United States, it is the most common STD that can be cured. The discharge may have a distinct stench, which can be yellow-green or foamy.

4. Cytomegalovirus: Infection with cytomegalovirus, or CMV, can be spread from mother to child during pregnancy and delivery and through sexual contact. Birth abnormalities and other major health issues are possible side effects.

5. Mixed Bacterial Vaginosis: As the most frequent form of BV, mixed bacterial vaginosis includes both Gardnerella and Mobiluncus bacteria overgrowths. When Gardnerella bacteria overgrow, they can cause vaginal discharge, burning, and itching, among other symptoms. While mostly harmless, Mobiluncus bacteria may produce fishy scents.

6. Mobiluncus bacterial vaginosis: The least prevalent kind of BV is Mobiluncus bacterial vaginosis, characterized by an overabundance of Mobiluncus bacteria without Gardnerella. Mobiluncus BV can cause fishy scents in the body.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

As a result of the disorder known as bacterial vaginosis (BV), there is a wide range of symptoms. Vaginal discharge, vaginal odor, and itching are all possible symptoms. There may be no symptoms at all in some women with BV.

An abnormal vaginal discharge is the most prevalent symptom of BV. This discharge is usually a thin, watery, milky-white or grey tint. It can smell fishy, particularly if you’ve had sex with it recently.

In addition to these symptoms, BV can cause:

  • Vaginal itching or burning
  • A fishy solid vaginal odor, particularly after sex
  • Burning during urination
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods

Consult your gynecologist or doctor if you have any of these symptoms so they can appropriately identify and treat the disease.

Diagnosis of Bacterial Vaginosis

As the name suggests, vaginal bacteria overgrowth can cause bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal discharge, itchiness, and burning are all possible side effects of this treatment. Doctors often use symptoms and a pelvic exam to identify bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal fluid can also be tested using a sample.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can be contracted in a variety of ways. Some of them are

  • Sexual activity.
  • I am sharing towels or swimming in contaminated water.
  • Douching can disrupt the average balance of bacteria in the vagina.
  • Multiple sexual partners.

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How is Bacterial Vaginosis Treated?

Bacterial vaginosis can be treated in several ways. You have two choices: take medication or go the natural route.

1. Medication: You’ll need a prescription from your doctor if you decide to take medication. Metronidazole is the most commonly prescribed medicine for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Oral or vaginal administration are both options for this drug.

2. Natural Approach: You may do a few things at home to help clean up the infection if you want a more natural approach. Using a vinegar-and-water douche is an easy and inexpensive home treatment. Another option is to place yogurts containing live lactobacillus bacteria cultures in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis can be fought off with the help of these germs.

Antibiotics are the most common treatment. The following can be used: a pill, a gel, or lotion. Depending on the severity of your infection, you may need to use it for 1-7 days.

A probiotic can also be used to treat bacterial vaginosis. Using this live microorganism, your vagina can return to having a healthy mix of good and bad bacteria. Supplements containing probiotics are readily accessible, as are yogurts that include probiotics. The beneficial bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus can be added to a vaginal douche to boost the good bacteria count.

The medication provided to you for BV should be taken even if you no longer have any symptoms. The infection may return if you stop taking the treatment too soon. To prevent spreading the virus to your partner, you should refrain from having intercourse until the infection has cleared.

Bacterial Vaginosis Prevention

Bacterial vaginosis can be prevented by following a few simple steps:

  • Avoid dousing yourself. B. vaginosis can be caused by this, as the average bacterial balance in your vagina is upset.
  • When having sex, use condoms. You’ll be less likely to get sick as a result of this.
  • After using the restroom, make sure to wipe yourself off front-to-back. Your vagina will be less likely to become infected as a result.
  • Scents should not be used in or around your vagina. These are also capable of upsetting the average bacterial balance.
  • Eating yogurt or probiotics is an excellent way to get your daily dose of bacteria.

Risks Associated with Untreated Bacterial Vaginosis?

If you don’t get treated for bacterial vaginosis, Pelvic inflammatory disease is an illness that can strike you at any time (PID). One of the most common causes of infertility and chronic pelvic pain is a reproductive system infection known as PID.

Bacterial vaginosis, if left untreated, can increase your chance of getting HIV. Yeast infections and Trichomoniasis, two other common vaginal illnesses, may also be more common.

An increased risk of sexually transmitted illnesses, such as HIV, is also possible. Untreated bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy might result in premature labor or a low birth weight baby.

It can spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus and produce pelvic inflammation illness (PID). Ectopic pregnancies, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain can all result from PID. According to research, the risk of HIV infection is also enhanced if bacterial vaginosis is left untreated.

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There are many symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Even though it is not a sexually transmitted disease, HPV can be spread between sex partners. Antibiotics are typically used to treat bacterial vaginosis, but specific home treatments may also be effective in easing symptoms. For diagnosis and treatment, if you suspect that you have bacterial vaginosis, consult your doctor.

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