Our vagina is a delicate organ and can often be susceptible to infections. And Bacterial Vaginosis (also known as BV) is a pretty common genital infection among women. Although not dangerous getting the infection can be quite a nuisance. BV is usually mild and that is why often not reported. Many experts believe that all woman may have experienced a BV without realizing it. This condition is often dismissed, but that does not mean you don’t have to know about it!
How does the infection occur?
The infection occurs when there is an imbalance in the naturally occurring healthy bacteria in our vagina. Since there are two types of bacteria- good and bad; when the good bacteria is lesser compared to the bad one it leads to an infection.
There are many factors that could disturb the balance, and one can never be sure what exactly causes it. Douching or excessive washing of the vagina may be a reason. Often the infection is caused by sex.
Other factors that might lead to an increase in chances of infection are:
Use of IUDs as a contraception
Multiple sexual partners
Although these might be factors, there is no way of determining what exactly caused the infection, once it is acquired. That’s why every woman who smokes, uses IUDs or consume antibiotics may or may not get an infection. Since the infection is quite common, women can get it at any time.
What are the signs?
The most prominent symptom of Bacterial Vaginosis is an increase in vaginal discharge, the color of which may be greyish or dirty. BV discharge will be thin, and will also have a fishy or foul smelling odor. The discharge and odor will be more prominent after sex. Although the amount of discharge women have will vary, any amount that is more than the usual should be considered a symptom.
You should also keep in mind that vaginal discharge is often a symptom of other infections too. That’s the reason you should be aware of the color, texture, and odor of your vaginal fluids.
Discharge may be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, and pelvic pain if there is another much more severe condition.
When can it lead to other health conditions?
During pregnancy– If you get Bacterial Vaginosis when you’re pregnant it will increase the chances of a miscarriage. It may also lead to earlier delivery or an urinary tract infection after the birth.
During a pelvic procedure- Pelvic procedures include ceasarian section for delivery, an abortion, or a hysterectomy. A BV at this time can lead to a pelvic infection.
STIs- An infection combined with another infection can be dangerous. If you get a sexually transmitted infection and Bacterial Vaginosis together it may lead to other problems; depending on the type of infection you get.
How is it treated?
Antibiotic pills is the usual route the doctor will take. Additionally patients often need an injection or apply a gel-like antibiotic on their vaginas. Most of the time the infection is mild enough to be treated quickly.
Bacterial Vaginosis is a mild but serious problem; take care.
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