Bacterial vaginosis indicates a disorder in the composition of the vaginal flora. The name itself vaginosis, not vaginitis indicates the absence of signs of inflammation of the vaginal walls.
Bacterial vaginosis most often occurs in the reproductive period of the woman. It does not belong to a sexually transmitted diseases and can also occur in girls who have never had sexual intercourse. It is known that some women are more prone to this phenomenon. Special attention is paid to pregnant women and women in the menopause.
What causes bacterial vaginosis?
Numerous factors affect the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis: hormonal status, sexual activity, number of sexual partners, the presence of spirals in the womb, the use of antibiotics, tampons, and fragranced (alkaline) soaps.
The cause of bacterial vaginosis lies in the disorder (disbalance) of the bacterial vaginal flora. Bacteria from the genus Lactobacillus make up 60-90% of the flora. They are responsible for the metabolism of glycogen and lactic acid and they maintain vaginal pH at the normal level (acidic environment).
When, for some reason, the pH value changes, for example, due to the use of alkaline soaps for intimate hygiene or perfumed pads, the ratio of normally present bacteria is disturbed, and vaginosis develops. The number of bacteria from the genus Lactobacillus decreases, creating favorable conditions for the growth and development of anaerobic bacteria. As a result, their number is multiplying.
The leading causes of bacterial vaginosis are Gardnerella vaginalis and Prevotella spp. In other cases it is mainly a mixed bacterial flora (not rarely associated with genital mycoplasmas). These are conditionally pathogenic bacteria because they are otherwise present in our body and lead to the development of the infection only if conditions are met.
The most striking symptom of bacterial vaginitis is the unpleasant smell of the vaginal secretion (“on the fish”). This increases after sexual intercourse and during menstrual bleeding. It can be followed by a rare white-grayish drip, itching, burning during and after urination. Bacterial vaginosis often remains undiagnosed because many women think that they have fungal infection. So they treat symptoms with the wrong drugs. This is why it is best to visit a gynecologist who will establish the right diagnosis.
When there is a suspicion of bacterial vaginosis, to confirm this condition the gynecologist takes into account: presence of secretion, increased pH of the vagina determined by litmus paper, presence of amine and clue cells in a direct microscopic examination.
Treatment for bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis should be treated because long-lasting and untreated leads to a weakening of local immunity and consequently a higher risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. Gynecologists are paying special attention to pregnant women and women who need to undergo operative treatment (gynecological-urological). This is important in order to avoid or reduce the risk of postoperative complications. Treatment is based on the use of antibiotics (tablets and local agents).
Given the high probability of recurrence the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. So, besides the antibiotic therapy, it is necessary to use probiotics to restore vaginal flora. During the treatment, sexual intercourse or the use of tampons is not recommended.
Image source: top10homeremedies.com
How to prevent bacterial vaginosis?
• Use tampons as little as possible.
• Avoid wearing tight clothes. Wear a comfortable cotton underwear that absorbs moisture and allows air circulation.
• Do not use perfumed toilet paper and perfumed products for hygiene of intimate body parts, as well as strong soaps and detergents that irritate.
• Bacterial vaginosis is not considered as a STD, but use condoms to prevent secondary vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
• To prevent every disease, as well as bacterial vaginosis, healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle are important.
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