Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

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Bacterial vaginosis is a condition in women in which there is an overgrowth of one  of several organisms that are part of the natural flora of the vagina. This condition disrupts the natural balance of the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginitis symptoms among women of childbearing age.

CAUSES

Bacterial vaginosis is a sign of change in growth of the bacteria in the vagina. Usually the good bacteria outnumber the bad ones. If the bad bacteria outnumber the good ones, it causes a chemical imbalance which results in this condition.

This infection can spread through sexual intercourse but people who are not sexually active can also get it. Your chances of getting it increases if you have multiple sexual partners. Using  IUD (intrauterine device) and douching may also increase your risk of getting this infection.

SYMPTOMS

Women with Bacterial vaginosis may have an abnormal vaginal discharge with a foul smell which may be more obvious after sex. The discharge may be white or gray  in color and can be thin. You may also experience a burning sensation during urination or itchiness around the vagina. However most women experience no symptoms at all.

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

You health care provider may take a sample of your vaginal fluid for analysis under the microscope. This is done to look for the bacteria associated with BV.

TREATMENT

Bacterial vaginosis can clear up without treatment but women with symptoms should be treated to avoid complications. Treatment is done with the antibiotics  metronidazole or clindamycin. Male sex partners generally do not need treatment. All pregnant women who have symptoms should be checked and treated to prevent pregnancy complications.

COMPLICATIONS

Most cases of BV does not cause complications but in some cases it may cause pelvic inflammatory disease which is linked to infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

In pregnant women , it may cause premature delivery or low birth weight babies.

It increases your chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

PREVENTION

BV is associated with having new or multiple sexual partners. Taking these precautions may reduce your risk of getting it.

  • abstinence
  • reduce number of sexual partners
  • don’t douche
  • use all medication prescribed for BV, even if symptoms go away.
REFERENCES
Bacterial vaginosis. UpToDate. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/bacterial-vaginosis. Accessed December 30, 2013

Bacterial vaginosis : complications. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Accessed December 30, 2013

Bacterial vaginosis (BV).FREEDOM Network : STD guide.http://www.std-gov.org/stds/bacterial_vaginosis.htm. Accessed December 30, 2013

Bacterial Vaginosis: An Update. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0315/p1285.html. Accessed December 30, 2013

Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm. Accessed December 30, 2013

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved December 2013 from Dictionary.com website.http://dictionary.reference.com.

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