Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection that affects the vagina caused by an imbalance of good vaginal bacteria. BV does not have health issues but can lead to health problems if not attended to, especially when trying to get pregnant or when pregnant. Luckily bacterial vaginosis treatment is available.
It’s caused by fall lactobacillus bacteria that keeps your vagina a bit acidic, hindering bad bacteria from multiplying. So, when these bacteria drop, harmful bacteria move in grow, and you get the BV.
Symptoms of BV
Most women have no symptoms, but those who get signs they are
- Burning sensation outside vagina when peeing
- Thin white, green, or grey consistent discharge
- The unpleasant fishy smell after sex gets stronger
Don’t confuse it with a yeast infection. Yeast infection mostly has non-smelly thick white discharge.
Complications Caused by BV
When not treated, bacterial vaginosis can increase so many health problems like
- sexually transmitted infections like herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and human papillomavirus (HPV)
- increases chances of contracting HIV
- postsurgical infections
when suffering from BV, it might affect your pregnancy differently, including
- premature delivery
- pregnancy loss
- amniotic sac breaking early
- postpartum endometritis
- fetus membrane inflammation (chorioamnionitis, which increases chances of cerebral palsy in newborns
Bacterial vaginosis affects fertility, and it becomes hard to conceive because it damages fallopian tubes and makes it hard to connect with ovaries. BV also inflames the upper female genital tract, causing serious effects. They have reported cases of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization caused by this bacterial infection.
What causes BV?
This bacterial infection is caused by a drop in the beneficial bacteria and rises in harmful bacteria found in the vagina. Several factors may cause the drop like having new or multiple sexual partners, douching, lack of using barrier methods like condoms, pregnancy, and antibiotics. It can also cause contracting an STI.
Any woman can get BV, but some women have higher chances of getting it than others. Women who use feminine hygiene products like douches and vaginal deodorants, use of perfumed bubble baths, and scented soaps. Washing your undergarments with powerful detergents or using antiseptic liquids in bathing water and smoking plays a role too in the BV risk factors
How to prevent bacterial vaginosis
From these tips, you can minimize your chances of contracting BV
- clean your sex toys immediately after use.
- do not douche or use water that has antiseptic.
- make sure you and your partner get tested for STIs.
- wipe from the front to the back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid multiple sexual partners.
- Use a condom if your partner is male before inserting the penis into your vagina or anus.
- use mild soap or water only when cleaning your genitals.
Best bacterial vaginosis treatments
Several medications treat BV like
This is one antibiotic that treats BV, and you can take it as a gel or pill. If you have BV that keeps coming back, the doctor will prescribe 500 milligrams oral tablet for a period of 10 to 14 days or vaginal gel for 10 days, then use it twice a week for 3 to 6 months
This is another effective prescription for BV. you can have it as a pill, cream, or ovule suppository. The tablet is 300mg taken twice a day for seven days or 5grams of cream inserted in the vagina at bedtime for 7 days. The doctor may also prescribe 100 milligrams ovule suppositories to insert during bedtimes for 3 days. Clindamycin ovules and pills are oily, which is likely to weaken condoms and diaphragm (latex products), and the effect can last 5day for cream and 72 hours for ovules.
Your doctor may prescribe tinidazole when you develop side effects on clindamycin or metronidazole. It is available in 2 grams oral pills taken once for 2 days or 1-gram oral tablet once every day for 5 days.
The advantage of this antibiotic is you can take it in one dose. It’s available as granules, and the recommended dose is 2 grams. Mix the granules with your favorite yogurt. Compared to other BV treatments, it’s more expensive, but it is good for those who prefer single-dose treatment.
Probiotics supplements are a pack of beneficial bacteria that will help introduce healthy bacteria to your body. A review done in 2014 shows taking probiotic supplements daily can cure and prevent BV. This supplement is available both in liquid and pill form.
If you are under medication for BV, remember antibiotics will be good and bad bacteria so you can use probiotics to replace good bacteria in your body that gets destroyed by antibiotics.
Garlic has effective antibiotic properties and has been used to treat BV as a home remedy. You should take it orally since vaginally; it will burn your vaginal tissues.
Vaginal suppositories from boric acid have been used to treat bacterial vaginosis for a long time. However, its very effective treatment should not be administered to pregnant women. It’s also not edible, so store it away from kids and animals.
Boric acid is safe for the vagina, and a study showed in 2009 they used it with suppressive antimicrobial therapy. It was effectively used to treat women who had recurring BV.
In most cases, BV might recur even after medication within 3 to 12 months, but if it recurs after treatment, consult your doctor, and he might extend the dose of metronidazole drugs. You can also try lactobacillus colonization therapy that naturally tries to multiply good bacteria and give your vagina a balanced environment. You can boost the vaginal bacteria by eating foods rich in lactobacilli like yoghurt, kimchi, sourdough bread, among others.
It is unnecessary to treat a woman’s male sexual partner, but they can transmit BV to female sexual partners. If you have a female sexual partner, seek testing and start the medication.
Pregnant women with the above signs should seek treatment to avoid preterm delivery or low birth weight. It is advisable to take the pills or apply cream or gel as the doctor prescribed, even if the signs disappear. If you stop treatment earlier, you are at the risk of recurrence of BV.