What is Bacterial Vaginosis and How Does it Affect Health?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common infection affecting the vaginal area, occurring when the normal balance of vaginal bacteria is disrupted. Symptoms may include a strong-smelling discharge, itching and burning. BV disturbs the delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina, which in turn can affect a woman’s overall health.
What Causes BV?
It is not always known what triggers bacterial vaginosis. It is thought to happen when the balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted by an outside source. This may be caused by anything from unprotected sex to frequent douching or washing with perfumed soaps or detergents. Poor hygiene and lack of proper nutrition also contribute to BV.
What Are the Symptoms of BV?
The most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a strong-smelling fishy odor coming from the vagina. Other symptoms may include burning or itching around the vagina, grayish-white discharge, and pain during intercourse or urination.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis Treated?
Bacterial vaginosis treatment usually consists of an antibiotic, such as metronidazole or clindamycin, taken either orally or vaginally. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics even if symptoms improve or go away, to ensure the infection is fully treated. It is also beneficial to take a probiotic to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Can BV Impact a Woman’s Health?
BV can have significant impacts on a woman’s health. Women with BV are more likely to develop sexually transmitted infections and pelvic inflammatory disease. They may also experience an increased risk of preterm births, if they become pregnant. BV can also lead to complications during pregnancy and increased susceptibility to certain sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, herpes, and gonorrhea.
The Key to Preventing BV
The best way to prevent BV is to practice good hygiene, such as showering with water instead of using perfumed soaps, douching less often and using condoms during sexual intercourse. A healthy balanced diet is also a key factor in reducing the risk of developing BV. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated, as this is essential for maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis is a common infection that is often painful and can cause serious health issues, if left untreated. Proper hygiene and a healthy diet play important roles in reducing the risk of developing BV and keeping the vagina healthy. If BV is suspected, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.