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Bacterial vaginosis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection of the vagina in women caused by anaerobic bacteria. It is not sexually transmitted but occurs on its own due to discrepancies of the normal flora of the vagina.

Bacterial vaginosis: Incidence, age and sex

Bacterial vaginosis has a high incidence in women of child bearing age. Sexually active women are more prone for this infection. Moreover, higher incidence of bacterial vaginosis has been noted in women during pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis: Diagnosis

Most of the women with bacterial vaginosis remain asymptomatic. Some women may complain of increased vaginal discharge. This discharge may be thin white or yellow with a fishy odour, especially occurring after intercourse. Quite a few women may also experience itching or burning sensation around the vaginal area. This is not a sexually transmitted disease. Relapses of bacterial vaginosis are generally seen. It is likely to be confused with other vaginal infections like candidiasis or trichomoniasis which are non-bacterial in origin. Thus a sample of vaginal discharge is tested to establish the identity of offending bacteria and checking the ph of vaginal environment.

Causes and prevention of bacterial vaginosis

The vaginal area in normal individuals consists of naturally occurring bacterial flora which includes both ‘good’ bacteria like lactobacilli and ‘bad’ anaerobic bacteria. These ‘bad’ bacteria usually remain dormant but sometimes may get activated to grow and cause vaginal infection. The exact cause of this activation of ‘bad’ bacteria is not clear. There is a hypothesis that reduced immunity may play a role in the causation of bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis: Complications

Complications of bacterial vaginosis are seldom seen. One of the complications of bacterial vaginosis is the spread of infection to other parts of female reproductive system like the uterus or the fallopian tubes. The affected women are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted disease which may be a result of imbalance in the normal flora of the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy may result in serious concerns like premature baby or very rarely, miscarriages.

Bacterial vaginosis: Treatment

The treatment of bacterial vaginosis includes oral antibiotic medications like metronidazole. The doctor may also prescribe topical medications like vaginal creams or gels. Abstinence from sexual intercourse is advisable till infection is effectively controlled. Avoidance of medicated sprays and excessively fragrant soaps along with good hygiene may prevent relapses in future.