What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

April 16, 2019

When it comes to reproductive health, many women are afraid to ask candid questions due to embarrassment or fear of being judged. However, failing to talk honestly about what may be going on in your vagina can lead anywhere from daily discomfort to serious health complications.

One of the most common vaginal infections is Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). It occurs frequently in women between the ages of 15 and 44, and it frequently occurs soon after sexual intercourse with a new partner. But before you get alarmed, know that BV is not a sexually transmitted disease.

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

All vaginas have bacteria in them. They are called vaginal flora and they keep the vagina healthy by keeping yeast and other unwanted organisms at bay. They also help maintain the vagina’s pH balance at 4, which is ideal to protect it against infections.

Whenever there is an imbalance in the vaginal flora, the vagina can become inflamed and  bacterial overgrowth can occur. This is called Bacterial Vaginosis.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

Some women don’t experience any symptoms of BV, while others may only experience mild, barely noticeable changes. However, those who do, notice symptoms experience the following:

  • Itching
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Gray vaginal discharge
  • Unpleasant smell, similar to fish

Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis

While Bacterial Vaginosis may sometimes go away on its own, sometimes a woman needs to take antibiotics to fully heal. They could be either in the form of pills or topical creams.

It’s crucial to remember to take the full amount of medication prescribed by your doctor (usually between five and seven days), even if symptoms disappear completely before you finish your treatment.

Avoid sex during the treatment period. If your sexual partner is female, notify her so that she can get tested as well.

Causes of  Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when the healthy bacteria in your vagina is out of balance. This leads to infection. Such imbalance can be caused by any of the following:

  • Using vaginal douches
  • Some scented soaps
  • Using vaginal deodorants or any products to make it smell “fresh”
  • Having sex with a new partner or with multiple partners
  • IUD birth control
  • Smoking

Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis

Always seek medical attention whenever you notice any unusual symptoms in your vagina. While Bacterial Vaginosis usually heals without any issues, if left untreated, it can increase your risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. It may also affect your chances of conceiving. If you’re already pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely.

Differences Between Bacterial Vaginosis and Yeast Infection

Both Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infections are common. They can also be confused with each other, since symptoms are similar for both conditions (unusual discharge, irritation, and itching). They can also both be triggered by sexual relations with a new partner.

The first thing that differentiates them is that often, women with BV don’t experience any symptoms, while women with yeast infection can’t ignore the condition due to the severe discomfort.

The second main difference is treatment: BV may require antibiotics, while yeast infections can be healed with over the counter antifungal creams.

The third difference is that the discharge when you have a yeast infection is thicker, with the consistency of cottage cheese.

Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch for More Information

At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we provide a variety of services for every woman. If you have any questions about how to improve your overall health, let us help you.

Call us today at (941) 907-3008 or schedule an appointment online.