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Bacterial Vaginosis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Complications, Prevention, Diagnosis And Treatment

Jun 30, 2023

Bacterial Vaginosis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Complications, Prevention, Diagnosis And Treatment : OBGYN

Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a vaginal infection, is caused by bacterial overgrowth. In every healthy vagina exist microorganisms. Normally, these bacteria cooperate with one another. Every now and then, the "bad" bacteria take over and outnumber the "good" bacteria. This throws off the usual balance of bacteria in the vagina and leads to bacterial vaginosis.

If you have bacterial vaginosis, the discharge from your vagina may have a "fishy" odor. It may cause soreness in the vagina for some persons whereas some individuals may not have any BV symptoms. 

Additionally, bacterial vaginosis is more common in sexually active people. It is not known why this is the case. However, actions like douching and unprotected sex raise the possibility of Bacterial vaginosis.

Read this blog further to get a quick overview of this important topic for OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY to ace your NEET PG exam preparation.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis

The imbalance of the natural bacteria in the vagina leads to bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal flora refers to the bacteria of the vagina that grows there. The vagina is kept healthy by a balanced vaginal flora. There are typically more "good" bacteria than "bad" bacteria in the vagina. The term "bad bacteria" is referred to anaerobes, while "good bacteria" is referred to lactobacilli. Anaerobe overgrowth can lead to bacterial vaginosis by upsetting the flora's delicate equilibrium.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

Up to 85% of those with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms. In that case, you might have:

  • Vaginal discharge that is grey, off-white, or emerald in color.
  • Discharge from the vagina that smells fishy, especially after sex.
  • Vaginal discomfort or itching.
  • Burning when you urinate.
  • The symptoms of BV resemble those of other illnesses. To find out whether you have BV or another vaginal infection, it's crucial to see a doctor.

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Risk Factors of Bacterial Vaginosis

Among the risk factors for bacterial vaginosis are:

  • Various sexual partners or a new partner. There is no apparent connection between having intercourse and bacterial vaginosis. However, BV is more common in people with new or various sex partners. Furthermore, BV is more frequent when both spouses are female.
  • Douching. The genital area self-cleans. So you don't need to rinse your vagina with water or anything else. It might even result in issues. Douching throws off the microorganisms in the vagina's delicate equilibrium. It may result in an increase in anaerobic bacteria, which can result in bacterial vaginosis.
  • A genetic deficiency in lactobacilli bacteria. You're more prone to get bacterial vaginosis if your vagina doesn't produce enough lactobacilli.

Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can be avoided by:

  • Use non-scented items. Simply use warm water to wash your genitalia. Vaginal tissues may become irritated by scented soaps and other items. Only utilize fragrance-free tampons and pads.
  • Douching- An infection in the vagina won't go away with douching. It might possibly even get worse. Except for regular bathing, your vagina does not need to be cleaned. Douching alters the vaginal flora, which increases your risk of infection.
  • Sex should be safe. Use dental dams or latex condoms to decrease your risk of STIs. Clear out any sex toys. Don't have sex at all, or at least limit it.

Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis

Complications from bacterial vaginosis are rare. However, occasionally having BV can result in:

  • Infections spread through sexual contact. You run a greater chance of contracting an STI if you have BV. HIV, the herpes simplex virus, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are examples of STIs. Bacterial vaginosis increases your partner's risk of contracting HIV if you have it.
  • Risk of infection following gynecological surgery. A condition following surgery, such as a hysterectomy or dilatation and curettage (D&C), may be more likely if you have BV.
  • PID, or pelvic inflammatory disorder. Sometimes, bacterial vaginosis results in PID. The risk of infertility is increased by this infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • Pregnancy Problems. A probable connection between BV and pregnancy issues has been demonstrated in earlier investigations. Low birth weight and preterm delivery are examples of this. 

These hazards could be caused by other factors, according to recent studies. An early delivery history is one of these justifications. But the research suggests that if you experience BV symptoms while pregnant, you should be examined. If so, your doctor will be able to choose the best course of action.

Also Read :

Endometriosis and Adenomyosis - NEET PG OBGYNPostpartum Hemorrhage: Causes, Types and ManagementDrugs in Pregnancy - NEET PG Obstetrics
Medical PG: Preparation Guide for Obstetrics and GynecologyHow to Prepare Gynaecology and Obstetrics for Medical PG Entrance exams?Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment And Complication

Diagnosis of Bacterial Vaginosis

  • Inquire about your medical background-  Your doctor might inquire about any previous STIs or vaginal infections you may have had.
  • Examine the pelvis. Your doctor will first check your vagina for indications of infection. The doctor will next feel your pelvic organs after that. Two fingers are inserted into the vagina while the other hand applies pressure on the abdomen, another name for the region of the stomach.
  • Get a sample of your uterine discharge. We'll check this sample for "clue cells." Vaginal cells covered in bacteria are known as clue cells. These are BV symptoms.
clue cells
  • Do a pH vaginal test. Utilizing a pH strip, you can determine how acidic your vagina is. The test strip is inserted into your vagina. If vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher then it is suggestive of bacterial vaginosis.

Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

To treat Bacterial vaginosis, the doctor may provide antibiotics such as metronidazole, clindamycin, or tinidazole. This can be a tablet that you swallow or a lotion or gel that you apply to your vagina. Most treatments will last between five and seven days. Even if the symptoms go, take the entire prescribed dosage. If not treated properly then the infection can return.

Do not engage in sexual activity until you have finished taking your medication and your symptoms have subsided because Bacterial Vaginosis can be transmitted through sex.

Even when Bacterial Vaginosis has been treated and disappears, it frequently reappears. You'll most likely need to take antibiotics again and for a longer period of time if that occurs.

You might wish to discuss an alternative method of birth control with your doctor if you use an IUD and Bacterial Vaginosis keeps returning which is also known as recurrent Bacterial vaginosis.

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