What is Bacterial Vaginosis?


Bacterial vaginosis is a mild infection of the vagina caused by bacteria. Normally, there are a lot of "good" bacteria and some "bad" bacteria in the vagina. The good types help control the growth of the bad types. In women with bacterial vaginosis, the balance is upset. Healthy vaginas are slightly acidic, thanks to the presence of good bacteria called lactobacilli that produce lactic acid.  However, if these are in short supply, harmful bacteria can grow and trigger a BV infection.



What causes Bacterial Vaginosis?

Experts are not sure what causes the bacteria in the vagina to get out of balance. But certain things make it more likely to happen. Your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis is higher if you. Have more than one sex partner or have a new sex partner.


What are the symptoms?

 About half of women who have bacterial vaginosis do not notice any symptoms.Many things can cause abnormal vaginal discharge, including some sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Symptoms

Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include:


  • Thin, gray, white or green vaginal discharge
  • Foul-smelling "fishy" vaginal odor
  • Vaginal itching
  • Burning during urination


How is bacterial vaginosis diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose bacterial vaginosis by asking about the symptoms, doing a pelvic exam, and taking a sample of the vaginal discharge. The sample can be tested to find out if you have bacterial vaginosis.


What problems can bacterial vaginosis cause?

Bacterial vaginosis usually does not cause other health problems. But in some cases it can lead to serious problems.

  • If you have it when you are pregnant, it increases the risk of miscarriage, early (preterm) delivery, and uterine infection after pregnancy.
  • If you have it when you have a pelvic procedure such as a cesarean section, an abortion, or a hysterectomy, you are more likely to get a pelvic infection.
  • If you have it and you are exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (including HIV), you are more likely to catch the infection.


How is it treated?


Doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic to treat bacterial vaginosis. They come as pills you swallow or as a cream or capsules (called ovules) that you put in your vagina.


It's common for bacterial vaginosis to recur within three to 12 months, despite treatment.