BV (Bacteria vaginosis) is an infection that results from an imbalance of the normal vaginal flora
This includes both ‘good’ and ‘harmful’ bacteria commonly found in the vagina. The bacteria commonly involved in BV are very diverse but majority involves Gardnerella vaginalis.
BV is the most common cause of vulvovaginitis (infection or inflammation of the vulva and vagina) in women. Up to 30% of women will experience BV at some point in their life.
BV is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but having BV can increase your chances of getting an STI.
Risk factors for BV:
New sex partner or multiple sex partners
Recent antibiotic use
Having an intrauterine device (IUD)
Women who have sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
*No clear evidence of sexual transmission.
Symptoms of BV:
Many women with BV do not have symptoms.
If you do have symptoms, they could include:
– Off white/gray vaginal discharge
– Vaginal odour, including strong fish like odour, especially after sex
– Pain, itching or burning around the outside or in the vagina (less common)
– Pain passing urine (rare)
– Pain during sex (rare)
BV will sometimes resolves without treatment.
In general, women without any symptoms of BV but who are found to have Gardnerella vaginalis colonization do not need treatment. Also, male sex partners of women diagnosed with BV do not need treatment.
Treatment is usually initiated in women with symptoms and also especially important in pregnant ladies (with or without symptoms) as it is linked with having premature babies and babies with low birth weight.
Treatment with antibiotics either orally or vaginally is highly effective in treating BV. The use of probiotics as prophylaxis or treatment of BV remains controversial but the risk of harm is minimal.
As with all infections, BV can recur even after treatment. So, if you start having symptoms even after treatment, it is advisable to see your doctor for advice as you could have a recurrent infection or a STI.Click here for our full range of Women’s Health Services
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