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Bacterial vaginosis

  • Overview


    If you experience discomfort or pain in your vagina could be due to bacterial vaginosis (BV). This occurs when the natural bacteria levels in your vagina are imbalanced. Maintaining balanced levels of bacteria is essential to keep your vagina healthy. When certain bacteria begin to overgrow, BV can develop.

    Bacterial vaginosis can occur at any age but is more common during the reproductive years. Hormonal changes during this time make it easier for bacteria to grow. Additionally, those who are sexually active are more likely to experience BV. However, it’s unclear why engaging in unprotected sex and douching can increase your risk of developing BV.

  • Symptoms


    Bacterial vaginosis can cause a few symptoms, such as thin vaginal discharge in shades of grey, white, or green. It can also cause a foul-smelling “fishy” vaginal odour, vaginal itching, and a burning sensation during urination. However, some individuals with bacterial vaginosis might not experience any symptoms.

  • When to see a doctor


    Set up a consultation with a medical practitioner if:
    If you have discomfort and your vaginal discharge smells strange, schedule an appointment to visit a doctor. Your physician can aid in determining the origin of your symptoms.
    Although you’ve previously experienced vaginal infections, your discharge looks different this time.
    You either have new partners for sex or different partners. Sometimes, the signs of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and bacterial vaginosis are identical.
    You self-treated your suspected yeast infection but are still experiencing symptoms.

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  • Causes


    Bacterial vaginosis develops when the natural bacteria in the vagina are out of balance. The term “vaginal flora” refers to the microorganisms in the vagina. A balanced vaginal flora maintains healthy vaginas. The “good” bacteria typically outnumber the “bad” germs. Anaerobes are the destructive bacteria, while lactobacilli are the beneficial ones. Anaerobe overgrowth throws off the flora’s delicate equilibrium, leading to bacterial vaginosis.

  • Risk factors


    The following are risk factors for bacterial vaginosis:
    Multiple sexual partners or a new partner are risk factors for bacterial vaginosis. It’s unclear whether having sex and bacterial vaginosis are related. However, BV is more common in people with multiple or new sex partners. Additionally, BV occurs more frequently when both spouses are female.
    Douching. The vagina cleans itself. Therefore, there is no need to rinse your vagina with water or another substance. It might even become problematic. Douching throws off the beneficial bacterial balance in the vagina. Anaerobic bacteria may overgrow as a result, resulting in bacterial vaginosis.
    Lack of lactobacilli bacteria by nature. If your vagina does not produce enough lactobacilli, you can experience bacterial vaginosis.

  • Prevention


    To lessen the risk of bacterial vaginosis:
    Avoid using scented items to help avoid bacterial vaginosis. Use just warm water to wash your genitalia. Vaginal tissues may become inflamed by fragrant soaps and other scented goods. Use only unscented pads or tampons.
    Avoid douching. A vaginal infection cannot be cured by douching. It might even get worse. Other than taking a daily bath, your vagina does not require cleaning. Douching alters the flora in your vagina, increasing your risk of infection.
    Sex should be safe. Use latex condoms or dental dams to reduce your chances of contracting an STI. Disinfect any sex toys. Limit your sex partners or refrain from having any at all.

  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023