What is bacterial vaginal infection?
Bacterial vaginal infection is as known as bacterial vaginitis or vaginal yeast infection.
Vaginitis is inflammation (swelling, redness) of the vagina that can have different causes, including infections. Infection with the yeast named Candida albicans, which is a kind of fungus, is one cause. When many Candida yeast organisms are present, they cause symptoms.
In most cases, Candida vaginitis is easily treated. A few women have yeast infections that come back frequently.
How common is bacterial vaginal infection?
Bacterial vaginitis is very common, with up to 75% of women likely to have a vaginal yeast infection. Women of all ages can get these infections, but the most common is women ages 15-44.
Signs & Symptoms
What are some signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginal infection?
The most common symptoms of bacterial vaginitis are:
- Vulvar and vaginal itching and burning;
- A white, often clumpy discharge, sometimes described as cottage cheese-like;
- Minimal discharge.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain with intercourse;
- Painful urination;
- Redness and inflammation of the skin of vulva.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
When should I see my doctor?
You should go to the hospital or see the doctor as soon as you notice any vaginal symptoms.
You should also seek for medical care if you had vaginitis before but you notice different symptoms.
What causes bacterial vaginal infection?
The fungus Candida albicans is the most possible cause of your condition.
You are more likely to have vaginal yeast infections if you are taking antibiotics, because antibiotics kill healthy, protective bacteria in the vagina. Lack of healthy bacteria allows yeast to grow.
Other reasons for getting them include douching too often, poor diet, lack of sleep, or weakened immune (infection-fighting) systems.
What can trigger or worsen bacterial vaginal infection?
Your condition may be worse if you:
- Ignoring the symptoms or any abnormal changes of the body;
- Not following the doctor’s instructions;
- Have sex while being treated.
What increases my risk for bacterial vaginal infection?
The factors that increase your risk of getting bacterial vaginitis are:
- Oral contraception;
- Long-term steroid treatment;
- Natural lack of lactobacilli bacteria.
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What are my treatment options for bacterial vaginal infection?
Your doctor may give you vaginal creams, suppositories, and oral medicines.
Vaginal creams and suppositories are available over-the-counter but medicine taken by mouth usually requires a doctor’s prescription.
Common antifungal drugs include clotrimazole, miconazole, nystatin, and terconazole. The doctor also prescribe fluconazole.
The over-the-counter medicines are often just as effective as prescription medicines, but you may find the pills easier to use.
Side effects from any of the drugs are rare, but you may have vaginal or vulvar burning.
What are the most common tests for bacterial vaginal infection?
The doctor makes a diagnosis by doing a pelvic examination and examining the vaginal discharge under a microscope. The doctor may send a sample of the discharge to a laboratory for culture, to see if Candida yeast will grow.
Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies help manage bacterial vaginal infection?
The following are some recommendations for your consideration to help you manage your health condition. These are:
- Take or use all your medicine as directed. If you do not finish a complete course, the infection may not be completely gone and come back.
- Use sitz baths if you have itching and discomfort. Soak the vulvar area for 10 to 15 minutes in plain water at a comfortable temperature, then pat the area dry.
- Eat 8 ounces of yogurt with live acidophilus bacteria daily. Yogurt may help stop yeast infections from coming back and is a good source of calcium anyway!
- Call your doctor if you still have symptoms after you finish the complete course of medicine.
- Avoid having sex during treatment.
- Avoid wearing tight, non-breathing clothing (for example, panty hose and tight pants).
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders /
Elsevier, 2012. Download version.
Porter, R. S., Kaplan, J. L., Homeier, B. P., & Albert, R. K. The Merck manual home health handbook. Whitehouse Station, NJ, Merck Research Laboratories, 2009. Printed edition. Page 1539.
CDC fact sheet: Bacterial vaginal infection fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm. Accessed April 27, 2015.
Bacterial vaginal infection. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/bacterialvaginosis/pages/default.aspx. Accessed April 27, 2015.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Bacterial vaginal infection (BV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/default.htm. Accessed April 27,2015.
Review Date: August 17, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017