Bacterial Vaginosis

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

What is bacterial vaginosis?

If too much of a certain kind of bacteria develops in your vagina, the bacterial balance may be disrupted, resulting in an infection. This condition is called bacterial vaginosis.

What causes bacterial vaginosis?

The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis remains unexplained. However, scientists believe you may be at a higher risk of bacterial vaginosis if you have more than one sex partner or if you have a new sex partner or if you douche. That means if you stick to one sex partner and you do not douche or smoke, you may lower your risk. Although bacterial vaginosis is more common in sexually active women, those who abstain from sex may get it, too.

How to know if I have bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis does not always show symptoms. The most common sign is abnormalities in your vaginal discharge. You may notice your discharge has strange colors or smells unusually awful. Also, there may be a burning sense, itching or even pain in or near the vagina.

Is bacterial vaginosis dangerous?

Bacterial vaginosis is often harmless. It may go away on its own after a few days. But it may cause you troubles when combined with other medical conditions.

  • Bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy may increase your risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum uterine infection.
  • Bacterial vaginosis may put you at risk of a pelvic infection during a pelvic procedure (C-section, abortion or hysterectomy)
  • Bacterial vaginosis makes you more prone to catching HIV if you come into contact with the virus.

How to diagnose and treat bacterial vaginosis?

Your doctor will need to examine your vagina for signs of infection. They may need to take a sample of your vaginal discharge to do a lab test. If you are diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis, your male partner does not need treatment. But bacterial vaginosis may be transferred among female partners. You will not get bacterial vaginosis from toilet seats, bedding or swimming pools.

Bacterial vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics in the form of oral pills, topical cream or capsules. If you are pregnant, your doctor will probably prescribe pills only. After a couple of days after taking antibiotics, you may see an improvement. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep up with the treatment even if the symptoms have disappeared.

Taking antibiotics may lead to a vaginal yeast infection although this is not common. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following signs during the course of your treatment:

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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