What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition experienced by women, which causes an unusual vaginal discharge often with a noticeable smell. It is caused due to the imbalance of bacteria present in the vagina, due to which bacteria multiple and thrive more than usual becoming prominent.
The condition if often mild and may go away on its own, but it can lead to more serious problems and hence should be checked out by a doctor. As many as 1 in 3 women experience BV at some point in their lives. The most common symptom is a smelly vaginal discharge which may look grayish white or yellow.
Women are more likely to develop the condition if they are sexually active with multiple partners.
Almost half the women with bacterial vaginosis do not show any signs and symptoms at all, and so may not be aware of them.
For women who do experience symptoms, it is usually characterised by unusual vaginal discharge, which may be thin and watery, greyish white or yellow in colour with a strong fishy smell, especially prevalent after sexual intercourse.
Bacterial vaginosis is not associated with soreness, itching or irritation.
Bacterial vaginosis is caused due to a change in the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina. The vagina contains a bacteria known as lactobacilli, which produces lactic acid, preventing other bacteria from growing there due to its slightly acidic nature.
This condition is therefore developed when a combination of multiple bacteria are present together, causing a decrease in lactobacilli and an increase in other types of bacteria, resulting in a change in the pH levels of the vagnia. The cause for this imbalance is not completely understood.
Other factors which can increase your risk of developing BV include using scented soap or bubble baths, having an intrauterine device (IUD) fitted or using vaginal deodorants. The condition is more likely to develop in women who are sexually active and have multiple partners.
If you notice any abnormal vaginal discharge you should visit your GP or go to a sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
It is important to determine whether you have bacterial vaginosis to avoid further complications. Your GP may diagnose BV given the symptoms you are experiencing and by examining your vagina. In most cases this is enough to confirm the diagnosis, however you may need further tests to rule out any STI.
The test may include a swab of cells from the wall of your vgaina, which picks up discharges and cells. It is quick and painless but may be slightly uncomfortable at the moment. The sample is examine for BV. The level of acidity of your vagina may also be measured using a piece of specially treated paper.
Bacterial vaginosis often causes no or mild symptoms, usually resolving on its own without requiring treatment. In cases where symptoms are present, it can be treated successfully with antibiotics.At The Online Surgery, we offer Metronidazole as treatment for BV, available in the form of a gel to be applied to the vagina, this includes Zidoval gel.