Bacterial vaginosis

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Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection affecting the vagina of a female. Anything that upsets the balance between the good and bad bacteria present in the vagina can lead to the infection. It is not a sexually transmitted diseases (STD) but can certainly, predispose one to it. However, it is mainly found in sexually active females.

Prevalence:

  • Sexually active females aged 18-45 yrs are more prone to BV
  • Rarely found in non-sexually active females

Causes :

The acidic pH of the vagina which is essential to maintain the healthy bacteria can be disrupted by:
  • having sex with multiple partners
  • unprotected sex with a new partner
  • douching
  • excessive cleaning of the vagina
  • cleaning the undergarment with a very strong or harsh detergent.
  • applying perfumes, deodorants or scented soaps on the vagina
  • using intra-uterine contraceptive devices
  • smoking
  • pregnancy

Symptoms:

  • abnormal, grayish or yellowish offensive vaginal discharge
  • itching in or around the vagina
  • pain or burning on urination
  • fishy- smelling vaginal discharge, especially after sex


If untreated, it can complicate pregnancy, cause pelvic infections, HIV or other STDs.

Prevention:

  • Avoid douching
  • Stay in a monogamous (single partner) relationship
  • Avoid using scented products
  • Using a condom during sex
  • Avoid too much washing of the area.

Diagnosis:

Physical examination as well as swab test of the vaginal discharge can determine BV

Treatment:

It can resolve on its own or by a short course of antibiotics.
DrSafeHands | CDC Hiv Statement