Bacterial Vaginosis (BV): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV, is an inflammatory condition of the vagina due to bacteria. Around 70% of women suffer from BV in some period of their life. BV is not a life-threatening disease and it responds well to antibiotic treatment.
bacterial vaginosis causes, symptoms and treatment

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is the infection of vagina with bacteria. It is the most common infection of the vagina in women around the world. BV is more commonly found in the reproductive age of females, which is 18-45 yrs. around 40% of women infected with bacterial vaginosis do not suffer from symptoms of infection. It is called asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis.

Causes of bacterial vaginosis:

  • Bacteria:

Human vagina contains numerous amounts of bacteria, most of them are good bacteria and others are bad. Perfect proportions of these two are required to maintain the ph of vagina. In BV, amount of bad bacteria increases.

  • Unsafe sex:

An unprotected sex can lead to various health problems. BV is one of them. It is not a sexually transmitted disease, but prepuce of male penis works as a reservoir of multiple pathogens. These bacteria are not problematic for the male but during the course of sex, they can reach to the female vagina and can produce bacterial vaginosis.

  • Multiple sex partners:

This is again not a direct cause of bacterial vaginosis. But multiple partners for sex leads to various infections. Bacterial vaginosis is one of them.

  • Female partner sex:

With unknown causes, it has been found in the observation that BV is 60% more common with lesbian sex partners.

  • Douching:

Douching is a vaginal instrument which is used in some part of the world to wash vagina and for the sexual purpose. Washing vagina with forceful water interferes with vaginal bacteria proportions.

It is too be remembered, Ayurveda uses “Uterbasti” which also looks like douching. Resemblance of these two confuses and makes a bad impression on the modern practitioner. Uterbasti is far different from douching.

  • Antibiotics:

Use of excessive antibiotics, especially without consulting with the doctor, can kill good bacteria from the body. Good bacteria of the body play an important part in body’s immunity. Due to oral and vaginal antibiotics, imbalance of good and bad bacteria leads to bacterial vaginosis.

  • Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD):

Some female’s body rejects IUCD due to idiopathic regions. Rejection of IUCD causes vaginal discharge and infection of the vagina. BV is the most common infection after the rejection of IUCD.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis:

  • Vaginal discharge:

Vaginal discharge is the most common and sometimes, it is the only symptom of bacterial vaginosis. Color of bacterial vaginosis discharge can be yellow, green or yellowish white. Fishy smell of vaginal discharge is very specific for BV, and this discharge may increase after sex.

  • Itching in vagina:

Itching in vagina may and may not occur in BV.

  • Pain in sex:

Pain in sex usually occurs. Painful sex with fishy smelly discharge is a quite common phenomenon in BV.

  • Pain after sex:

BV may produce pain in the vagina after sex, and it is very disturbing because most of the female correlate this pain with sex. This leads to mental depression and fear of sex. Indirectly, causes problem in the relationship.

  • Burning micturition:

If the infection is old enough then it may cause symptom of urinary tract infection. Burning micturition is not so common in bacterial vaginosis.

Some other symptoms which may or may not be present in BV are:

  • Fever
  • Backache
  • Arthralgia
  • Lower abdomen pain
  • Burning sensation in vagina
  • Redness of vagina
  • Redness of groin region
  • Macule and papule in vagina
  • Inflammatory change in vaginal canal
  • Feeling of presence of something in vagina

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  • Bacterial vaginosis in men:

Men don’t have vagina so the answer is very sure that men can’t get caught with bacterial vaginosis. Although bacterial infection in penis and prepuce both are common.

Complication of bacterial vaginosis:

  • Sexually transmitted disease:

Various research support that women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to get infected with sexually transmitted disease.

Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy increases the chance of miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth and pre term labor.

  • Infertility:

BV is a leading cause of female infertility.

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease:

Chronic and asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is leading cause of infertility in female, dysmenorrhea menopausal problem. Continuous dull pain in lower abdomen and severe backache are main symptoms of PID.

  • Failure of in vitro fertilization:

BV increases the chances of failure of In-vitro fertilization (test tube baby) up to 50%.

  • Vaginal herpes:

Women with asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis are more prone for herpes infection.

  • Human papilloma virus:

The chance of getting infected with human papilloma virus is up to 40% in BV. Human papilloma virus is the cause of cervical cancer. So BV increases the chance of getting cancer up to 30%.

Bacterial vaginosis tests:

  • Vaginal Swab:

Doctor may advise for microscopic examination of vaginal swab. Presence of dead bacteria and more than 10 WBC count confirms the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis.

  • Vaginal pH:

Normal vaginal pH is slightly acidic because of good and bad bacteria. Normal vaginal pH is 3.5 to 4. Vaginal pH more than 4.5 is confirmed diagnose of bacterial vaginosis.

  • Microscopic examination of vaginal discharge slide:

If vaginal discharge slide is positive for clue cells, then it suggests BV. Clue cells are dead epithelium cells of vagina coated with dead pathogen.

  • Amstel criteria for bacterial vaginosis:

It is a triad for diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis.

  • Fishy smell vaginal discharge
  • Clue cell in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal ph greater than 4.5

Differential diagnosis between vaginal infections:

  • Candidiasis
  • Trochomoniasis
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Aerobic vaginitis
  • Normal vaginal discharge

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Prevention for bacterial vaginosis:

  • Safe sex:

BV is not a sexually transmitted disease, but it may transmit from male prepuce (which acts as a reservoir for bacteria). So maintaining hygiene and using condom is always advisable.

  • Control number of sex partner:

Enjoying sex with many partners, in a non-familiar environment can lead towards lots vaginal problem from vaginosis to sexually transmitted disease.

  • No douching:

Douching kills good bacteria along with bad bacteria. It also interferes with vaginal ph which leads an easy entrance of the number of pathogens.

  • Uses of probiotics:

It is a controversial hypothesis. There are lots of pharmaceutical preparations of good bacteria. Does these bacteria improve immunity and prevent diseases is still under trial.

  • Vaginal wash:

Soaps are not meant for cleaning of vagina. They reduce vaginal ph towards more alkaline. Always apply special soap or vaginal wash.

  • Menstruation hygiene:

Vagina is more prone to get infected with various microorganisms during menstruation time. So it is always important to maintain menstruation hygiene. Always use sanitary pads and change it more often.

Treatment for bacterial vaginosis:

BV is not a serious health issue, but ignoring it in beginning can cause more serious issues. It is easily treatable with the health professional. It responds well to antibiotic therapy. Symptoms may disappear within 2-3 days. But it is good to complete the antibiotic course.

  • Antibiotic in bacterial vaginosis:

Selection of antibiotic will depend on sensitivity test.

  • Reoccurrence of bacterial vaginosis:

BV usually reoccur within 2-3 months. It generally happens with ladies who haven’t completed the antibiotic course. One time antibiotic course does not secure you for whole life. So taking prevention is always the best policy.Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis treatment in Ayurveda:

There are lots of Ayurveda preparations which improve the overall immunity of the body and also maintain a healthy reproductive system. Some are:

Disclaimer –

Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. for any query or personal consultation according to your health condition Please Contact Us

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