Bacterial Vaginosis (B.V.) is one of the women’s most prevalent vaginal infections. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease affects approximately thirty per cent of all women between 15 and 44. Yet, B.V. disproportionately impacts Black women, with an estimated infection rate of over 50 per cent.
B.V. occurs when there’s an overgrowth of bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic, that can disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina.
What causes bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis typically results from an overgrowth of the common strain of bacteria known as the Gardnerella vaginalis. Certain risks, such as douching, can alter the equilibrium of “good” and “bad” vaginal bacteria, increasing the amount.
B.V. can occur to any woman with a vagina, even if you’re sexually active. However, B.V. in women who aren’t sexually active is uncommon.
You’re more at risk of developing B.V. if you’re pregnant, are a new sex lover or female sex partner, or have multiple partners with sex; do not use condoms or dental dams, use douches or IUD (IUD).
There isn’t a foolproof method to prevent bacteria Vaginosis. However, you can minimize the chance of contracting the disease by not douching or limiting sexual partners, using latex condoms or dental dams and using cotton underwear or cotton-lined ones.
What exactly are signs?
Dr Jennifer Wider tells “Sometimes there are no signs, but if they do, some of the symptoms most typical symptoms are the appearance of an off-white, grey or greenish vaginal discharge, and an odour described as “fishy” which can be particularly strong in the course of the period or following sexual activity. The less frequent indication is the sensation of itchiness or soreness.”
Dr Kecia Gaither, director of perinatal care at the NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln hospital in the Bronx, tells that some people believe that bacterial Vaginosis can be an infection that can be transmitted sexually “hence the stigma,” she states. “But it is not.”
However, as per the CDC, B.V. may increase the risk of contracting an infection transmitted sexually, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. This, in turn, can result in pelvic inflammatory diseases. If you’re pregnant, having B.V. can also increase the chance of having a premature birth (before reaching 37 weeks gestation).
It is often misinterpreted as other conditions such as an un-viral STI known as trichomoniasis and other bacterial infections like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
Based on the Cleveland Clinic, the most frequently encountered mix-up is between yeast and bacterial vaginosis infections due to both being bacteria that can cause an increase in discharge. But there are some distinctions between the two conditions the discharge from the bacterial vaginosis infection has a distinct distinctive fishy smell and is a bit liquid inconsistency. In contrast, the Vaginal Yeast Infection discharge is white and thick with a look akin to cottage cheese and doesn’t have a strong scent.
Usually, B.V. does not cause itching or irritation in most cases; however, infection with yeast can. In addition, Who can treat the yeast infection with prescription medications or an antifungal drug, but you’ll require prescription antibiotics to treat Bacterial Vaginosis.
How can you deal with the infection with bacterial Vaginosis?
The positive side is that bacterial Vaginosis is curable. The diagnosis is made with a vaginal fluid taken during a gynaecological examination and then sent to a laboratory. Once diagnosed, treatment usually is 7-day treatment with antibiotics. Gaither states that “multiple therapeutic medications have been utilized for treatment like metronidazole, clindamycin and tinidazole.”
But, not completing the entire course of antibiotics could cause relapse, as per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In a tiny percentage of cases, patients may require a follow-up treatment. However, research has revealed that B.V. is a very high frequency of recurrence. A report from 2021 discovered that B.V. could be recurrent within six months in over 50 per cent of cases.
Bacterial Vaginosis is generally thought to be a mild illness. However, it could make people more susceptible to serious health issues. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, don’t put off visiting your doctor.