What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is a common bacterial infection of the vagina that occurs when there is an imbalance in the vaginal flora. Although it can be easily treated, it is important to note that it may be an indication of other more serious infections.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is mainly caused by an imbalance in the pH levels of the vagina. This leads to an overgrowth of bacteria, which can then cause inflammation.

Risk Factors for Bacterial Vaginosis

Being aware of the risk factors can help in prevention. They include:

  • Vaginal douching
  • Smoking and consuming alcohol
  • Use of perfumed feminine soaps or sprays
  • Engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD)

Common Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

If you suspect you have bacterial vaginosis, look out for:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge:
    • White mixed with grey or green color
    • Watery, foamy, or streaky consistency
    • Foul-smelling, especially after intercourse
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Itching or irritation in the vagina or vulva
  • Pain during intercourse

Diagnosing Bacterial Vaginosis

For a proper diagnosis, a medical professional might conduct:

  • An internal examination to observe white and grey/green discharge with a distinct foul smell
  • Lab tests examining vaginal discharge to identify the specific infection
  • Measurement of the vagina's pH balance, with levels of 4.5 or higher indicating a bacterial infection
  • A culture of the vaginal discharge or screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Treatment Options

If diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis:

  1. Consult a doctor for appropriate medication
  2. They might prescribe oral medications like metronidazole or clindamycin. Take these post meals to prevent nausea or vomiting. Remember to abstain from alcohol during the treatment duration.
  3. Use of topical creams might be suggested to soothe burning and inflammation on the vulva.

Prevention Tips

Preventing bacterial vaginosis is achievable by:

  1. Refraining from vaginal douching and consistent use of sanitary pads
  2. Abstaining from sexual activity during an active infection or using condoms
  3. Not using feminine washes or sprays
  4. Regular internal check-ups with a gynecologist
  5. Practicing proper hygiene post urination or bowel movements, wiping from front to back
  6. Ensuring good personal hygiene and wearing breathable underwear
  7. Taking medications as prescribed and following the doctor's instructions diligently