A Closer Look at Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women, affecting 10 to 64 percent of the female population. Most women think that yeast infections are the most common vaginal infection, but in reality, it is bacterial vaginosis.

What Is It?

It is defined as an inflammation that occurs in the vagina caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacteria in the area. It is not generally considered a sexually transmitted disease and should not be confused with yeast infections like candidiasis. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women will develop the condition in their lifetime.

It usually occurs to women of all ages, but women with diabetes and menopause are at risk. If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis may increase a woman's risk to PID or pelvic inflammatory disease, endometritis, cervicitis, and complications during pregnancy.

Causes and Predisposing Factors

Normally, the vagina houses a small amount of bacteria and organisms. This is healthy and helps the vagina maintain its normal pH. Another protective bacterium, lactobacilli, prevents other vaginal organisms to multiply. A change in the normal bacterial flora due to use of antibiotics or pH imbalance may result to more resistant bacteria to flourish.

Primary causes include an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria and the gardnerella organism. The bacterium E. Coli, which is a normal inhabitant of the rectum, may also be spread to the vaginal area.

Other factors that cause bacterial vaginosis are poor hygiene, use of IUD in birth control, routine vaginal douching, poor health, and hot weather. Some studies have also shown that those with multiple partners may have an increased risk for vaginosis.

Signs and Symptoms

A homogenous white vaginal discharge with an unpleasant, foul, and fishy odor is usually the characteristic sign of bacterial vaginosis, particularly after intercourse. Itching and a burning sensation may also be present, but not all cases report the symptom. Most women are unaware that they are infected until they are diagnosed during a routine pap smear and pelvic exam. Stomach pains and severe cramps are associated symptoms.

Treatment

Treatment includes the use of antibiotics like metronidazole and clindamycin. Route of administration is either orally or manually. Treatments are focused on eliminating unwanted bacteria, adding buffer or acid to lower the pH, introducing lactic bacteria, and adding growth factors substrate to increase lactic bacteria population. Adherence to the prescription is very important since recurrence of bacterial vaginosis is very high.

Vaginosis tends to recur and in many cases, standard antibiotic treatments do not work. There are natural alternatives like femanol that have been proven very effective. Alternatively, there is an ebook called 3 Days To Permanent Bacteria Vaginosis Relief that offers simple home remedies and advice to treat vaginosis.

Prevention of BV

It is important to always wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent E. Coli from entering the vagina from the rectum. Douching should be avoided unless necessary as it can disrupt the pH balance in the vagina. Always keep the vaginal area clean and dry especially after intercourse. Moisture is breeding ground for bacteria.

If one prefers tight clothing, one can alternate it with loose skirts and dresses to allow air to circulate. Cotton panties are also recommended to absorb moisture. Safe intercourse using condoms is also important.