Bacterial Vaginosis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Bacterial Vaginosis

Contents


This article contains proven steps and strategies on how to prevent, treat and stop the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis, together with some helpful tips on prevention, home treatment, managing the condition for pregnant women and a suggested diet to improve health and enjoy a
higher quality of life.

Bacterial vaginosis is a common infection in the vagina; the most susceptible are those who have an active sex life and pregnant women. BV affects one in five women from ages 15 to 44 years old. Although there is no definite explanation as to why sexual activity is blamed for its prevalence.

According to a study that spans from 2001 to 2004 conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), there are about 21.2 million or 29.2% American women from ages 14 to 49 who are afflicted with bacterial vaginosis.

The data show that 84% of these women do not have symptoms of By. It also contradicts the belief that sex has anything to do with vaginosis as i8.8% of women have not experienced having oral, anal or vaginal sex are also affected with By. Its findings reveal that 25% of pregnant
women or 3 1.7% of women who had been pregnant have BV in some point of their lives.

Most women are unaware that they are having vaginosis as the symptoms are less noticeable, and often ignored due to embarrassment, thinking that the symptoms can be an STI or sexually transmitted infection. This misconception should be corrected to enable women
to find the right medication and help prevent the recurrence of BV.

There are many causes and risk factors of bacterial vaginosis that every woman must understand to avoid misdiagnosing the symptoms. After reading this article you will a greater understanding of the causes, risk factors and treatment of bacterial vaginosis.

Getting To Know Gardnerella Vaginalis

Vaginosis comes with different names. It is popularly referred to as bacterial vaginosis or By. It goes by other names such as Gardnerella vaginitis and vaginal bacteriosis. In layman’s term, vaginosis is a vaginal disease caused by overgrowth or an imbalance of bacteria that leads to excessive vaginal discharge that smells awful. The main culprit of bacterial vaginosis is none other than Gardnerella vaginalis.

However, not all cases of vaginosis are caused by the genus Gardnerella as there are other types of bacteria that stay in the vagina. Depending on the severity of the infection, the discharge may differ from white, off-white to grayish and is accompanied with a musty odor.

In some cases, symptoms are not felt by patients and the causes also vary, although it is most common in pregnant women, sexually active and women who have multiple partners, which sometimes misdiagnosed as sexually transmitted infection (STI).

What is Gardnerella vaginalis?

From the kingdom bacteria, this microscopic organism is named after its discoverer in 1955, Hermanmi L. Gardner, a noted American bacteriologist. The genus Gardnerella is made of tiny, round coccobacilli that do not have spore and non-moving anaerobic bacteria that often grow on HBT agar and chocolate agar. Before it got its present classification, it was called as Haemophilus vaginalis and later as Corynebacterium vagiiialis.

The genus Gardnerella causes vaginosis when there is a disruption of the genital microflora that results to acidity in the vaginal pH. Its presence in the vagina can be detected through urine and blood samples. In some cases, it can be present even in women without symptoms of vaginosis infection.

Although the symptoms are asymptomatic, health practitioners may find it easy to detect it based on the vaginal discharge, foul-smelling odor and irritation. This is made possible through the help of amine whiff test, where the discharge is tested by adding io% potassium
hydroxide or KOH solution to the vaginal discharge on the microscope glass slide.

If it smells fishy, it means the cause is the genus Gardnerella and not the usual suspect the Candida albicans and the Trichomonas vaginalis. The genus Candida is responsible for vaginal yeast infections while the Tric-homonas is responsible for trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted disease. Washing the vagina with alkaline soap can also increase the vaginal discharge that is accompanied with a fishy smell.

The whiff test is vital in diagnosing the real cause of vaginal infection and to clearly identify the right medication to treat it as the two vaginal infections are almost similar in symptoms such as creamy vaginal discharge, burning sensation and irritation.

The health practitioner may view the sample in a microscope, where it can appear as a thin cell wall either as Gram negative cell wall or Gram positive cell wall. If found positive with vaginosis, the patient can take antibiotics such as clindamycin and metronidazole, or can use topical medicine that includes vaginal cream and gel.

How Common Does Garduerella Vaginalis Infection Occur to Women?

Gardnerella vaginalis infection is common among women who are pregnant and have an active sex life, though it can occur as young as 14 years old. It is the number one cause of vaginal infections and inflammation, affecting more than three million of the women population
per year or 6o% of women who are infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The statistics may differ when it comes to the percentage of affected women.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey says that there are 21.2 million American women from 14 to 49 years old are affected by bacterial vaginosis or can be translated into 29.2% of the women population. Another report says that there are about 12 to 22% of women are affected with By. Sixteen percent of American women who are expecting a baby are also infected with
vaginosis.

Symptoms of Garduerella Vaginalis

As the primary cause of bacterial vaginosis, the symptoms of Gardnerella vaginalis can be asymptomatic or does not show any symptom. The symptoms include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal irritation
  • Fishy or musty odor
  • The discharge can be creamy, frothy gray,white or yellow green
  • Pain during urination

Treatment of Gardnerella Vaginalis

Gardnerella vaginalis can be treated with antibiotic treatment and topical medicine that have metronidazole and clindamycin contents. Most patients are cured if they take or apply the antibiotics religiously

1. Metronidazole

This antibiotic has the ability to fight the bacteria in the human body, especially in the respiratory tract, stomach, skin, joints and the female genital. It is effective in treating infection caused by Gardnerella vaginalis, but not in vaginal yeast infection caused by the Candida fungus.

Take this medicine based on the doctor’s prescription to avoid the risk of infection caused by skipping or stopping that leads to antibiotic
resistance. It is not proven effective in treating viral infection that causes influenza or common cold.

For effective use, do not take it while drinking an alcoholic beverage or even after three days of stopping the medication.

Pregnant and lactating women should not take the medication or else they will pass on the antibiotic to breast milk. If you have other symptoms such as liver disease, stomach problems, anemia and leukopenia, nerve disorder, epilepsy and seizure episodes, you have to consult your doctor before taking this medication.

Most common side-effects of taking metronidazole are:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin redness
  • Tingly sensation

2. Clindamycin

Clindamycin is effective in treating Gardnerella vaginalis infection and other types of bacterial infection. However, an overdose of clindamycin can cause stomach problems, diarrhea, colitis, astluna attack, skin allergy or eczema. Side-effects can be prevented if you follow the doctor’s prescription and you will notice that the symptoms of Gardnerella vaginalis infection are cleared. Skipping a dose of clindamycin can result to antibiotic resistance. Avoid taking clindamycin if you have any of the following:

  • Allergic reaction to clindamycin
  • Allergic reaction to yellow food dye
  • It is taken along with eiythromycin
  • Liver and Crohn’s diseases
  • Eczema and other skin allergies
  • Allergic reaction to aspirin
  • Asthma
  • Pregnant or lactating

3. Tinidazole

Tinidazole goes by brand name Tindamax and it is used in treating bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted infections, including parasitic infections such as amoebiasis and giardiasis.

As an antibiotic, it is categorized as nitroimidazole, which has the ability to fight against protozoa and bacteria. Viral infections such as influenza and the common cold are ineffective when treated with tinidazole. Taking tinidazole can cause the discoloration of the urine, but it is a normal reaction. For effective use, follow the doctor’s prescription.

The most common side-effects of tinidazole are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Biting taste
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Stomach cramps
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea

If you notice any of the side-effects, tell your gyiecologist for advice.

This section has been dedicated to genus Gardnerella, the primary cause of bacterial vaginosis and how it differs with other vaginal infections caused by the genus Candida and the genus Trichomonas. In succeeding sections , the causes, risk factors, prevention and treatment will be more closely explained and discussed in simple terms to create awerness to readers so that this bacterial vaginosis can be avoided.

What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance of the microflora in the vagina as the naturally occurring bacteria and some types of bacteria are disturbed. It can happen to any woman who has multiple sexual contacts, It can pregnant, too much douching in the vagina, antibioticsand using anti—birth control devices. This vaginal infection is caused by the genus Gardnerella vaginalis, which is an anaerobic organism that stays in the vagina and outnumbers the friendly bacteria or lactobacilli. The symptoms include vaginal discharge that smells fishy and oftentimes, misdiagnosed as vaginal yeast infection or sexually transmitted disease.

Prevalence of Bacterial Vaginosis

BV is a common infection in women with Afro-American ethnicity, which is about 51% of the women population and with Mexican—American ethnicity, which is about 32% of the women population. White women only comprise about 23% of the population. Eighty-four percent of women have BV without experiencing symptoms while i8.8% of women afflicted with BV have not even tried oral, anal or vaginal sex.

It is also common with women who have experienced pregnancy, which comprise about 31.7% of their population and 25% are pregnant women or a ratio of 1:5. The statistics may vary depending on the institution involved in the study. It can occur in women who are in
their reproductive age from early adolescence until their 50s. It is not so common in both European and Asian countries.

In the United States, women from early teens to late 405 can have BV, which is represented by about 30% of their population. It can be noted that the first case of bacterial vaginosis was documented in 1894.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis

Like yeast infections and sexually transmitted infection, bacterial vaginosis can occur when the vaginal pH becomes an alkaline environment. This may happen when the good bacteria are disturbed due to several factors that lead the anaerobic bacteria, particularly the Gardnerella vaginalis to populate the genital, though there is no definite explanation as the real causes of bacterial imbalance. Anaerobic bacteria can survive in the vagina without oxygen. Researchers have identified the common causes of bacterial vaginosis that may differ from one person to another.

Common causes are:

  • Douching
  • Multiple sexual partner
  • Having new sexual partner
  • Pregnancy
  • Unsafe sex
  • Have anal, oral and vaginal sex

Contributing Factors of BV:

  • Poor hygiene that cause the E. coli bacteria from the anus to reach the vagina.
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Antibiotic use
  • Poor health
  • Humid weather
  • Menopause
  • Diabetes
  • You have Afro-Carribean ethnicity
  • Use of intrauterine device for birth control
  • Previous history of BV and STI

Common Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

Even though some cases of bacterial vaginosis are asymptomatic and caused by atypical bacteria, the most common symptoms are the following:

  • Vaginal discharge accompanied with fishy odor
  • Vaginal discharge that ranges from white, yellow, gray or creamy in color
  • Vaginal itching
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge after sex

Other Symptoms of BV:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Fever

It should be noted that the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis and the vaginal discharge may differ from one person to another. Women who observe the changes in their vaginal discharge should consult a gynecologist while it is still early to treat the condition and prevent its recurrence.

Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis that is left untreated because of ignorance and fear may lead to complications such as:

1. Complicated Pregnancy

One in every five pregnant women may have bacterial vaginosis that can affect their unborn baby, including low birth weight and premature
birth as the infection may cause rupture of the bag of water.

2. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID can occur when the reproductive system is inflamed due to bacteria caused by Gardnerella vaginalis. Its complication may lead to ectopic pregnancy or the fetus is implanted outside the uterus; and infertility.

3. Hysterectomy & Abortion

Infection is most common in women who have a surgical procedure in their reproductive system such as uterus, fallopian tube and removal of mvoma and cyst. The infection may also lead to miscarriage.

4. Risks of contracting STD and HIV-AIDS

Wo1nen who have BV have a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS that is passed on to them by their sexual partner. These infections include:

Chlamydia: This sexually transmitted infection can cause damage to the female reproductive system, making it impossible to get pregnant. Men and women can get chlamydia from their partners. Other complications of chlamydia are ectopic pregnancy or the infection can be passed on to the newly born baby.

Trichomoniasis: This STD can infect men and women during sexual intercourse. The parasite infects the lower genital tract that includes the vagina, vulva and the urethra in women. In men, the parasite infects the male urethra or the inside of the penis. It can be transmitted from the vagina to the penis or the other way around.

Gonorrhea: The main culprit of this infection is the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea that thrives in the dark and moist part of the reproductive tract of men and women. The complications of gonorrhea are ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and infection to the fetus. It can also infect the other parts of the body, such as mouth, eyes, throat, anus, bones, and blood that can lead to death.

Genital Herpes: The main culprit of this STD is the herpes simplex virus that has two types of strains such as HSV-1 and HSV-2. Common symptoms of HSV-1 are fever, blisters on the lips and in some cases in the genital when the cause is sexual contact. The symptoms of HSV-2 include watery skin blisters around and within the vagina or penis and the anus. The virus stays in the nerve cell of the body. Its complications include infection to the newly-born baby that may affect the brain, skin and vital organs.

Syphilis: This STD is caused by the genus Treponema pallidum, a bacterium that infects the person through oral, vaginal and anal sex. Syphilis may also affect other organs in the body as in the case of secondary syphilis and can be life-threatening as in the case of tertiary syphilis that affects the brain, nerves and eyes. Other complications include stillbirth, miscarriage, and infection to the fetus and after childbirth. Congenital syphilis can affect the motor and speech development and nerves. It can also cause skeletal deformity, anemia, liver disease and seizure.

Diagnosing Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis should not be confused as a vaginal yeast infection or STI. It is easy to identify if the cause of the vaginal discharge is the Gardnerella vaginalis or other type of anaerobic bacteria through various tests.

Women are advised to take swift action if they notice an abnormality of their vaginal discharge other than what they call white blood. They have to report this to their vaginal discharge other than what the call white blood. They have to report this to their doctor and be ready to answer some questions to help identify if the infection is an STI, mild or severe. The doctor will test the patient if they are at risk of vaginal infections such as:

  • Pregnancy and maififest some symptoms
  • Hysterectomy (removal of ovary or fallopian tube
  • Surgical abortion
  • Have symptoms of vaginal infections

Tests and Exams to Diagnose BV

  • Whiff test

This method is performed by getting a vaginal fluid sample and mixed it with 10% of the KOH liquid solution. When it releases a disgusting
odor or fishy smell, there is no doubt that there is a bacterial vaginosis.

Pelvic exam

The gynecologist will perform a pelvic examination to see the condition of the cervix and vaginal lining. The health practitioner will
examine if the cervix is soft or hard as the tenderness can help identify the medical condition.

Manual exam

During the manual examination, the gynecologist will collect a sample from the female genital to check if there is an infection caused by gonorrhea or chiamydia. The sample is examined using a microscope. If the doctor sees clue cells, which are vaginal cells that are covered with the atypical bacteria, the diagnosis is a bacterial vagmosis.

Vaginal pH

During the microscopic viewing, the doctor will find out that the lactobacilli are outnumbered the Gardnerella bacteria. The normal vaginal pH ranges from 3.8 to 4.5. If it is more than 4.5 it means that there is a bacterial vaginosis.

Oligonucleotide probe

This test is performed to identify and match the DNA or RNA sequence of the bacteria responsible in causing the vaginal infection. So far, the
accuracy of oligonucleotide probe testing is proven accurate, though this is not always available in some hospital laboratories.

Wet mount

This test is performed by mixing the vaginal discharge sample with an ordinary salt solution and mounts it on the microscope slide. The medical practitioner will see what type of bacteria has infected the vaginal by observing the clue cells that covers the white blood cells. It signifies bacterial vaginosis if there are clue cells in the discharge.

Is bacterial vaginosis a communicable disease?

Researchers have a hard time assessing the real causes of bacterial vaginosis and the transmissibility of the anaerobic bacteria to individuals is not clearly understood. This is because celibate and even virgin women may also experience bacterial vaginosis.

Therefore, it is not only sex with multiple partners that can cause this disease, it can occur in women who have never had sex in their lives. The spread of anaerobic bacteria surely can start from an infected woman to her female sex partner as in the case of same sex relationships.

Since it is a vaginal infection, men cannot contract the infection. The bacteria are not transmitted to public toilets, swimming pools, door knobs, a computer mouse and microphones.

Can menopausal women get bacterial vaginosis?

Yes, women whose menstrual cycle has stopped cannot escape from getting bacterial vaginosis, but this seldom happens. Studies say that BV is common to women who are in their reproductive age.

Routine Questions from the Doctor

For women who are exposed to bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted infections, it always pays to listen to your doctor. Be attentive to what the gynecologist is asking and answer the routine questions honestly. Remember that medical practitioners live by their oath that what you revealed to them remains a secret. Do not hesitate to answer the following questions:

  • How long have you been complaining about this?
  • Do you have a vaginal discharge?
  • What is the color of the vaginal discharge?
  • Does it smell fishy or musty?
  • Do you douche?
  • How often do you douche?
  • How many times you wash your vagina?
  • Do you wash it with soap or spray with fragrances?
  • Do you have multiple sexual partners?
  • How often do you change sexual partner?
  • Do you have sex with a fellow female partner?
  • Do you use intrauterine device or IUD?
  • Is your partner using a condom?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Do you have lower back pain?
  • Do you have a history of STD or STI?
  • Are you exposed to an HIV-positive partner?
  • Are you exposed to a partner infected with STI?
  • Is your vagina itchy?
  • Do you have painful urination?
  • Have you had a previous vaginal infection?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Is your partner circumcised?

Why Call a Doctor

Women are advised to call a doctor when they notice a vaginal discharge that is accompanied by fishy odor. There are over-the-counter medications and home treatment that can be used to remedy the problem, but it pays to listen to a professional to avoid its recurrence.

Here are the reasons why it is necessary to visit a doctor:

  • You are pregnant
  • You are pregnant and have exposure to STI and HIV
  • You are unsure of the infection.
  • If it is your first time to have a vaginal infection.
  • The vaginal discharge is foul-smelling.
  • The symptoms are increasing even after taking antibiotics.
  • You have a bisexual relationship.
  • Your male partner has an STD.
  • Your male partner is not wearing a condom.
  • The inflamation and vaginal discharge are getting worse.
  • You have lost your self-confidence. Prevention & Treatment Of Bacterial
  • It is affecting your relationship with Vaginosis other people.
  • If you reach the pre or post-menopausal perio
  • You have anal sex

Prevention and Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is not difficult to diagnose as long as the patient is willing to submit for a whiff test, pelvic exam and manual exam. The gynecologist will perform any of the exams to determine the type of vaginal infection that the patient has. Based on the sample taken from the vaginal discharge, the health practitioner can identify the bacteria involved in the infection, which is already discussed in the previous section .

Tips on Preventing BV

There are some cases of bacterial vaginosis that may cure on their own without being noticed. This does not mean that women should be complacent about its consequence as it may lead to complications in pregnant women such as abortion and hysterectomy. To avoid its recurrence, the patient should take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor and avoid skipping the medication as it may lead to antibiotic resistance. It is reported that recurrence of BV may happen months after Here are some tips to prevent bacterial vaginosis:

  • Have a monogamous relationship
  • Use condoms if sex cannot be avoided
  • Avoid vaginal douching
  • Wash and dry the vagina from front to back
  • Wear cotton and not synthetic underwear
  • Wear loose pants to allow air circulation in the crotch area
  • Seek medical help if there is vaginal discharge
  • Follow the doctor’s prescription
  • For same sex relationships, wash sex toys after using

Bacterial vaginosis is preventable if women and their sex partners use precautionary measures. Although is it not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, exposing yourself with a partner with STI may start the infection. Its effect on the infected person is disturbing and may affect her normal movement as the vaginal discharge can emit a strong odor.

Antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics, but recurrence cannot be avoided after the patient is completely treated. One-third of BV cases have been resolved without taking medications. It you happen to experience any symptoms seek medical help to avoid complications in the future.

Metronidazole: It comes in gel and pill forms. The pill tastes metallic with some common side-effects while the gel does not
have side effects, except in some cases where it can trigger candidiasis. It can be bought as a prescription medicine that carries brand name such as Flagyl and Metro Gel-Vaginal.

Clindamycin: This antibiotic is proven effective in treating bacterial infection. The use of clindamycin cream is not advisable for sexual partners who are using diaphragms and condoms as the oil content in the gel may cause them to break. You may not be protected from pregnancy or STI.

Tinidazole: Take tinidazole with a full stomach as it can cause stomach upset. It can be taken in a single dose or once a day for a period of two to five days depending on the severity of the infection. If you are taking other medications such as colestipol or choistyramine, take tinidazole two hours after for proper absorption. It can be bought in brand name Tindamax.

Over-the-Counter Medications for BV:

There are no proven therapeutic effects when taking OTCs and taking them without the approval from a doctor may only worsen the infection. It is important that women, who are manifesting the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis or STI, should seek medical help to cure the infections. Antibiotics are proven effective in treating BV if the direction is strictly followed by the patient. Misuse, skipping and stopping the antibiotics without the doctor’s approval may result in recurrence.

When to Seek Medical Help?

Most cases of bacterial vaginosis are hard to detect and differentiated from candidiasis and trichomoniasis as the former may mimic the symptoms, it is advisable that women should refer their problem to a medical practitioner for proper diagnosis and avoid self-medication.

Call the doctor if you have any of the following:

  • You are expecting a baby and have symptoms of vaginal infection.
  • You have vaginal discharge with unusual color and odor.
  • You have pain in the upper part of your vagina.
  • You have a fever of over than 38.3°C or 100.94 °F and accompanied with vaginal discharge.
  • You have a vaginal itching and irritation during urination.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells fishy after sex.
  • You have a history of STI and By.
  • You have vaginal bleeding that is different from a menstruation.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • You have or about to undergo surgical abortion or hysterectomy.
  • You are HIV-infected with symptoms of vaginal infection.

Medical practitioners to see:

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms or you are at risk of having a vaginal infection, seek immediate medical attention. Delays in seeking medical help may lead to further complications, especially if you are expecting a baby. These medical practitioners are licensed and they have background or have specialization in women’s health.

  • Obstetricians/Gynecologists
  • Family medicine doctors
  • Nurses
  • Internists
  • Midwives
  • Medical technicians
  • General practitioners

Note that the gynecologists are placed above the other health practitioners because of their expertise in women’s health and care. They are the most reliable professionals to see as they can give proper diagnosis and treatment for vaginal infections including candidiasis, STI and bacterial vaginosis. Most gynecologists have combined training in obstetric medicine. Obstetricians are professionals who are trained in handling pregnancy, childbirth, maternal health and post-partum period.

Pregnancy and Vaginosis

Pregnant women are prone to have bacterial vaginosis that could lead to miscarriage and complications after surgery related to their reproductive system. It is estimated that about io% to 30% of expectant mothers will have BV during pregnancy. This can happen when there is an imbalance of the microflora in the vagina.

Microflora is defined as a community of various microorganisms such as friendly bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, fungus and germs that are found in a specific location of the body.

The vagina serves as the haven for both the microorganisms, including the genus Candida that is responsible for yeast infections and the Gardnerella vaginalis that is responsible for some cases of bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis is not actually caused by sexual contact, though it can trigger the BV as in the case of having a sexual partner who has multiple sexual contacts.

How to Detect Bacterial Vaginosis during Pregnancy?

The symptoms of BV are pretty obvious as the discharge is a bit grayish or whitish that is accompanied with a disgusting or fishy odor. Some women may not be able to know that they are having vaginosis because the symptoms are asymptomatic or does not show symptoms at all.

Does Bacterial Vaginosis Affect the Pregnancy?

Premature labor is sometimes linked to bacterial vaginosis as the infection becomes worse and affecting the unborn baby, or if not it may result to low birth weight. The bacteria that cause vaginosis may penetrate to the membranes, resulting to rupture of the bag of water.

Screening for Bacterial Vaginosis

Pregnant women who do not manifest bacterial vaginosis may not submit to a screening. If you suspect of having BV while pregnant or are at risk of preterm labor, you can talk to your doctor and discuss your concern regarding vaginosis. The health care provider can initiate
the screening and there is no reason to fear as this cannot cause harm to your unborn baby.

Miscarriage and complications during pregnancy can be avoided if there is a screening for early intervention if in case there is a bacterial vaginosis. Most of the time, the doctor may not screen their patients during their first prenatal checkup. It is important that high-risk patients should be screened so they can take the proper medication to kill the bacteria.

Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnant Women

Pregnant women who are at risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis should consult their enecologist so they can be advised on what medications to use. Second trimester miscarriage can occur in women who are afflicted with bacterial vaginosis, although there is no definite explanation as the exact reason.

Pregnant women who are diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis are advised to take antibiotics that are safe to use during pregnancy. The antibiotics play an important role in killing the bad bacteria in the vagina, though it is not assured if the infection will not return as there are nearly 30 percent of females who complain of having a recurrence after three months or so. If there is a recurrence, tell your doctor the soonest possible.

Medications to treat BV for pregnant women include:

1. Oral medications – This includes antibiotics such as:

  • Clindamvcin
  • Metronidazole
  • Tinidazole

Note that antibiotics should be taken within seven to prevent antibiotic resistance.

2. Topical Medications-This can either be in a gel or cream form that includes:

  • Clindamycin
  • Metronidazole

What the doctor should recommend:

  • Pregnant women who are infected with HIV should be screened for bacterial vaginosis during their first prenatal checkup.
  • Recommendation for treatment for HIV infected expectant mothers showing symptomatic vaginosis.
  • Recommendation for treatment for HIV infected expectant mothers showing no symptoms of BV, but with a history of premature delivery.

Recommended Dosage for the Treatment of BV in HIV-infected Pregnant Women:

  • Metrouidazole-500 milligrams to be taken orally 2x a day (PO bid) for seven days.
  • Metrouidazole-250 milligrams to be taken orally 3x a day (PO bid) for seven days.
  • Clmdaiuycin—300 milligrams to be taken orally 2x a day (PO bid) for seven days seven days

Note that pregnant women should abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages to avoid contraindication while taking metronidazole. Clindamycin cream a day (PO bid) for seven day’s application during the second trimester is often linked to neonatal infection and low birth weight. Clindamycin cream is not recommended to treat BV for pregnant  women who are infected with HIV. It is advisable that they take the oral medications as recommended above.

Recommended Dosage for the Treatment of BV in HIV-infected Non-Pregnant Women:

  • Metronidazole-500 milligrams to be taken Or orally 2X a day (PO bid) for seven days.
  • Metronidazole gel-Apply 0.75% or one full Or applicator into the vagina, once a day for five days
  • Metronidazole-25o milligrams to be taken orally 3X a day (PO tid) for seven days.
  • Clindamycin cream-Apply 2% or one full applicator into the vagina at bedtime for seven days.
  • Clindamycin—300 milligrams to be taken orally 2x a day (PO bid) for seven days seven dys

Effects of Bacterial Vaginosis in Pregnant Women

There are many reasons why pregnant women should have a screening and be treated with antibiotics if they are  showing signs of bacterial vaginosis.

Here’s why:

  • It may lead to premature labor (PPROM).
  • It increases the risk of a low birth weight baby.
  • It increases urinary tract infections during and after pregnancy.
  • It is usually the cause of second-trimester miscarriage.
  • It is linked to pelvic inflammatory disease or PID.
  • It leads to infections after the surgical procedure related to the reproductive system.
  • Susceptibility to STI such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, HIV and gonorrhea if your male partner is involved with different sexual partners.

Prevention for Pregnant Women:

  • Do not smoke
  • Practice safe sex
  • Do not douche
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene and fragrances
  • Wear cotton underwear

Home Treatment For Bacterial Vaginosis

Some women are unaware that their vagina is a favorite haven for both friendly and bad bacteria. These bacteria come in different forms and when there is a disturbance in the microflora of the female genital, a vaginal infection may occur.

Among these infections is the bacterial vaginosis or BV. It is a common infection in women of reproductive age ranging from early teens to early 50s. It can happen when the lactobacilli are outnumbered or the vaginal pH level goes beyond 4-5.

Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors to their patient, and if they are taken religiously can cure the infection. But there is no guarantee that the infection will never return as there are cases when the infection recurs within 12 months after the treatment.

What are the home remedies for BV?

Health authorities do not recommend home treatment for bacterial infections, as they believe that only antibiotics in gel or pill forms can fully fight the bacteria. Taking probiotic tablets cannot cure BV because it is not caused by yeasts. But advocates for alternative medicine believe that taking Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic tablets can really get rid of this infection as they help balance the pH level in tile female genital. Aside from tile probiotics, there are other home remedies believed to cure and prevent bacterial vaginosis.

Take a peek at the list and how they are used:

1. Garlic: There is no doubt that garlic is an effective antibiotic fresh from the garden. It does not only treat a bacterial infection, but it can also fight against virus and fungus. There are three ways to use garlic for treating By. Tile first one is to swallow one or two cloves of garlic with one glass of water.

The second way is to apply crushed garlic about three to four cloves on tile vaginal area and let it stay for less than 30 minutes. Wash it with lukewarm water, but do not use soap. Repeat this process daily until the infection is gone.

The third option is to crush one clove of garlic and wrap it with gauze. Apply it in on the affected area; leave it for less than 30 minutes as it can burn the skin. Do this after a bath daily for several weeks to months or until the infection is gone.

2. Tree Tea Oil: The oil from tea tree is proven effective in treating fungal and bacterial infections that cause several types of skin diseases such as herpes, ringworm, acne as well as in treating vaginal infections. It helps remove the bacteria that cause the infection and it also eradicates the fishy smell in the vaginal discharge.

Make a solution of tea tree oil drops in a small bowl of hot water. Wash the vagina using this solution daily for several weeks. You can also mix a few drops of the oil and three cups of vinegar and add this to your bath water. Soak the body with this solution for 30 minutes.

Repeat this process every other day for several weeks to months, or until such time that the infection is cured.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar: The bad bacteria cannot survive when you regularly use the apple cider vinegar as it helps improve the vaginal pH level. Mix your bath water with about two cups of the vinegar and sit in the water for less than 30 minutes. Pat the mixture onto the vagina. Repeat this daily for several weeks to months.

4. Milk & Yogurt: Dairy products contain lactobacilli bacteria that are essential in improving the pH level of the vagina. Both products are effective in preventing vaginosis and improve the immune system. Dip a cotton ball with either milk or yogurt and dab it on the affected area. Leave it there for two hours. It is advisable to do it at bedtime while your body is rested. Rinse the vagina with lukewarm water before sleeping. Repeat the process daily for weeks to months. Aside from using the milk and yogurt as topical medicine, drink a glass of milk daily or two cups of yogurt every day.

It is advisable to do it at bedtime while your body is rested. Rinse the vagina with lukewarm water before sleeping. Repeat the process daily for weeks to months. Aside from using the milk and yogurt as topical medicine, drink a glass of milk daily or two cups of yogurt every day.

5. Coconut Oil: Truly, coconut lives by its name as the tree of life. It is not only a good source of food and raw materials for handicraft; it is a natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviraL These healing properties make it useful in treating bacterial vaginosis and prevent its recurrence.

You can use extra virgin oil or organic coco oil and apply it to the vaginal area at least thrice a day for several days to weeks. You can use an
organic tampon soaked with coconut oil and insert it on the vulva for a few hours. Remove the tampon and rinse with lukewarm vater. Do this once a day for several weeks. Eat food cooked in coconut milk as a good source of nutrition to boost the immune system.

6. Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek helps hasten the healing process and improves the vaginal pH level. Drink a glass of water with two tablespoons of its seeds soaked overnight when you get up in the morning. For better absorption, drink this with an empty stomach daily for four weeks.

For variation, you can mix a teaspoon of seeds with a cup of warm water. Leave it there for five to seven minutes, strain the mixture. Enhance
the flavor by adding a teaspoon of honey. Drink it twice or thrice a day. Do not worry; there are no side-effects when you drink more cups of
fenugreek tea.

7. Oregano oil: Oregano is a natural antifungal and antibacterial. It is a common home remedy for treating common cold and cough because of its ability to fight virus and bacterial including bacterial vaginosis. For the treatment of By, make a solution of one tablespoon of olive oil and three drops of oregano oil and dab it using cotton on the affected area. Let it stay for two hours daily. You can also try mixing three drops of the oil into a glass of lukewarm water, and drink it once a day.

8. Tea Bags: Teas have medicinal properties and drinking a cup of tea everyday can help reduce cardiovascular stroke and other lifestyle diseases. This is because the tannins in every bag of tea contain various nutrients to keep the body healthy. The tea bag can help reduce swelling, itching and irritation caused by viral, fungal and bacterial infection.

For effective use in treating bacterial vaginosis, soak it in hot water for ten to 15 minutes and chill it for a few minutes. Apply the cold tea bag on the vaginal area to remove the itching. Do this at least three to four times a day until the infection is completely gone.

9. Neem: This tree goes by different names such as Indian lilac, margosa and nimtree. Aside from its effectiveness as mosquito repellant, it is laden with antifungal and antibacterial properties that are responsible in relieving soreness, inflammation and itching.

For effective use in treating By, heat several leaves of neem without adding water. Let it cool and grind the leaves. Make a neem paste by
mixing two teaspoons of its powder and a few drops of water. Apply it on the affected area and let it stay for 30 minutes. Rinse it with lukewarm water twice a day for several weeks.

10. Hydrogen Peroxide: This chemical compound is proven effective in eliminating bad bacteria and inflammatory agents that cause infections in the body, particularly the bacterial vaginosis. It restores the normal pH level in the vagina by eliminating the genus Gardnerella vaginalis and all forms of bacteria that cause the vaginal infections.

For effective use, mix 3% of H2o2 with equal amount of water and use it for washing the vagina instead of ordinary water. You can use an organic tampon coated with hydrogen peroxide and insert it into the vulva. Leave it on for half an hour, daily until the odor is totally eliminated.

11. Echinacea: The roots, flowers and leaves of echinacea herb have medicinal properties to fight fungus, yeasts, bacteria and virus that cause several illnesses in humans. It is also taken as a food supplement to improve the body’s immune system and in healing the bacterial infection. You can boil the leaves and roots of Echinacea and dab the solution onto the vagina to remove the inflammation and pain.

12. Boric acid: Boric acid goes with several monikers such as acidum boricum, hydrogen borate, orthoboric acid and boracic acid. This compound is a natural antiseptic and it is also used as an ingredient in the manufacturing of insecticide. As an antiseptic, it eliminates the foul odor from the vagina due to bacterial vaginosis and other infections. It restores the pH balance of the microflora of the vagina by making it more acidic from alkaline.

For effective use, insert the boric acid capsule into the vulva or you can make a homemade capsule by putting the pulverized boric acid inside the gel capsules that you can buy at drugstores. There are available boric acid suppositories that are sold online or at drugstores.

13. Calendula: Calendula flower is not only effective in preventing muscle spasms, it is used as a pain reliever and antiseptic. It is known to remove swelling and heals wounds faster. The flower is applied to the affected skin, varicose veins, eyelid and rectum. For treating vaginosis, boil several flowers of calendula for 5 minutes until the water becomes dark. Apply the calendula mixture in the vaginal area with cotton and rub it gently. It removes swelling and pain due to infection.

14. Black Walnut: It is a natural antiseptic and it is effective in killing parasites in the body. It is also used to treat STI, diphtheria and in some cases in the prevention of leukemia. Its solution is used as gargle, hair dye and as a tincture. The tannins in black walnuts are responsible for reducing pain, inflammation and drying up mucous. It is effective in treating bacterial vaginosis by applying it to the vaginal area.

15. Goldenseal: This perennial herb that is endemic to the eastern part of the United States and Canada is known for its therapeutic properties. It can be used as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, laxative, oxvtocic, ant catarrhal, hepatic and alterative. It can be taken orally or as an external medicine.

There are available drugs and food supplements with high contents of golden seal and can be bought in the form of tablet, salve, powder, capsule and tincture. Use the tincture for treating the bacterial vaginosis or take it orally to remove the inflammation.

16. Citrus Fruits: Drink citrus fruit drinks to boost your immune system as a defense against further infection brought by bacterial vaginosis.

17. Guava Leaves: Sit on warm water with a mixture of boiled guava leaves for fast relief of bacterial vagmosis. Guava leaves are very effective in reducing swelling and pain. Boil 13 young leaves of guava in a glass of water for seven to ten minutes. Use it as a tincture by dabbing it Sexually Transmitted Diseases, HIV & with cotton and rub it gently on the vagina.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, HIV & Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a woman’s disease that can either manifest symptoms or not. It is a disruption in the gut flora of the vagina when there are more concentrations of anaerobic bacteria, protozoa, mycoplasmas and the main culprit genus Gardnerella vaginalis. Though it is not fully understood as to why the increase of bacteria can increase the vaginal pH level, infection caused by BV can progress into a sexually transmitted infection especially in lesbian relationships.

Normally, the pH level should only be 3.8 to 4.5, and if it is over the desired range, the excretion of vaginal fluid that smells fishy will rapidly increase. Its occurrence is common among women with same sex relationship, pregnant women and with more than sexual partner or the partner is carrying the bacteria from an infected woman.

Oftentimes, it is associated with sexually transmitted disease and HIV, but it does not mean that a woman with BV can be HIV-positive or has an STI.

What happens when an HIV-infected woman has a bacterial vaginosis?

There is no big difference as to the characteristics of bacterial vaginosis when it infects an HIV-positive woman or a non-HIV infected woman. This is because bacterial vaginosis is asymptomatic even to an HIV infected pregnant and non—pregnant woman.

The only telltale sign of BV is it emits vaginal discharge that smells fishy. The discharge becomes eminent during monthly period and after sex as the fluid mixes with the male semen apart from the high level of vaginal pH.

Trichomoniasis and vaginal yeast infections do not manifest foul odor during menses and after sexual intercourse. There are some cases when endocervicitis may occur because of bacterial vaginosis.

Endocervicitis happens when there is an inflammation of the lining of the uterine cervix. If endocervicitis is accompanied with pus, it needs immediate evaluation as this can be a sign of sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Bacterial vaginosis may recur in both patients with or without HIV infection and this needs prompt medical attention to remove its disturbing effects on the person. Take a look at the characteristics of BV in both HIV infected and HIV negative individual.

  • It can stay longer in HIV positive pregnant woman.
  • It can manifest severe effects on HIV positive woman.
  • Dosage for both HW-infected and non-HIV infected women are the same.
  • Prevalence remains the same for both types of patients in some ethnicities.
  • Its recurrence can occur within six to 12 months after treatment to both HIV-infected and non—HIV-infected women.

Management of BV with HIV Exposures between Sexual Partners:

Although bacterial vaginosis is not contagious and it is not a sexually transmitted infection, it can trigger STI and HW if one partner is exposed to an infected sexual partner.

Aside from assessing the cause of infection through routine questions and series of tests, the medical practitioner has to evaluate the exposures to HIV and STI to partners and the possibility of contracting other forms of sexually transmitted infections.

After the diagnoses, the practitioner should recommend medications to patients with BV to determine if they are positive with either HIV or STI. For HIV positive patients, the clinician should make a confirmatory testing before declaring that they are sick with Human
Immunodeficiency Virus.

Educating Patients with BV:

Education is a key towards achieving awareness in patients that are showing signs of BV or have asymptomatic symptoms who are involved with a non-HIV or an HIV-positive partner. The symptoms of HIV are the following:

  • Rashes accompanied with fever
  • Lymphadenopathy or presence of lymph nodes
  • Myalgia or muscle pains
  • Sore throat

Recommendations by Clinicians:

Sexual partners with an exposure to STI/HIV for more than 36 hours should immediately submit for a post-exposure prophylaxis therapy. This is administered after HIV testing to ensure that it does not progress into AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. PEP is a preventive clinical treatment that is offered to patients after their exposure to a virus or pathogen that cause the infection.

Advice On Post Bacterial Vaginosis Health

Bacterial vaginosis can recur even after the treatment is over. There is no clear explanation why this happens. Research says that one-third or even one-half of women who have taken their antibiotics in a prescribed period have experienced recurrence of BV within six months to a year. Non-pregnant women do not need to undergo a test after their treatment, but pregnant women should go back to their doctors’ clinic to have a test. This is to ensure that the bacterial vaginosis is no longer present. They have to cooperate with their gynecologist by submitting to a test to get a sample of their vaginal discharge.

Managing Recurrence of BV

Some women are prone to get bacterial vaginosis more often. If you are among this group, it is always recommended that you should have a test to know if the infection is totally cured. The swab test should be taken if there are disturbing symptoms in your genital such as vaginal discharge that releases a foul odor. Delaying the test can be costly as the infection progresses.

The swab test is important to have confirmation if the cause of annoyance is an infection caused by the Gardnerella vaginalis or the genus Candida. Clinicians are advising women with recurrence of bacterial vaginosis symptoms to seek medical help. They can consult an internist, a nurse or a gynecologist to have a peace of mind.

The recurrence may be earlier than expected say for example, two months or three months instead of six to 12 months as the usual case. One of the reasons why it recurs is not following the doctor’s prescription or the treatment does not work for them. Reinfection is triggered if the dosage is skipped or there is a double dose to make up the missed dose. Infected female partner of same sex relationships should be treated to stop the recurrence.

Getting Rid of Vaginal Odor

Vaginal odor caused by infections due to disruption of the gut flora can be embarrassing. Some women are hesitant to have a checkup as they fear that the odor can be smelled by their doctor. BV odor is extremely bad and no amount of washing can remove it completely. The odor is
difficult to handle during menstruation and after sex. This makes some women conscious and insecure. Some of them stop socializing and they rather keep a distance from their friends for fear that the odor becomes obvious. They have to use feminine hygiene products and douche their vagina to eliminate the odor, but the infection is still there. There are some simple things that women must do to reduce the vaginal odor without resorting to feminine wash.

Step 1: Proper hygiene-Unlike men, the female genital has its natural odor that can be triggered when there is a bacterial infection caused by several factors. Hygiene should be a regular routine but do not overdo it as the microflora of the vagina is disrupted because the pH level increases. Too much washing may result to yeast infections and vaginosis as the bad bacteria overpower the good bacteria.

Wash the vagina from front to back and not the other way around. Pat it dry with a clean towel as microorganisms love to stay in moist areas. Use hypoallergenic soap for your morning bath and before bedtime. You can rinse the vagina with plain water every visit to the bathroom.

Step 2: Avoid using vaginal sprays, fragrances and douching to clean the vagina as they can trigger the disruption of the vaginal pH level. If there is already a vaginal discharge with fishy odor, try using the home remedies mentioned in the other section of this article.

Step 3: Wear loose-fitting pants and underwear made of 100% cotton. Nylon and synthetic underwear and pantyhose should be avoided as they are non-absorbent.

Step 4: Avoid using tampons and panty liners as they can increase the bad bacteria in the vagina. Make it a habit to change underwear when it is soaked with vaginal discharge. Rinse your underwear properly to eliminate the soap that can possibly irritate the vagina.

Step 5: Hygiene should not only comes from you, but let your male partner wash his genital and have him wear a condom before sexual intercourse. This does not only prevent bacterial vaginosis, it can also prevent urinary tract infections and STI.

Step 6: Stop smoking

Step 7: Take Vitamin C and D supplements to boost your immune system. Ask your doctor for exact dosage as too much Vitamin C can be bad to your kidneys.

Step 8: Set an appointment with your doctor. When you notice a whitish or grayish discharge with foul-smelling odor, you have to visit the doctor immediately to prevent further complications especially if you are expecting a baby.

Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis

When there is inflammation of the vagina with odorous vaginal discharge, it is definitely a bacterial vaginosis and not a simple case of a bacterial yeast infection. Although both infections are oftentimes caused by disturbance in the vaginal pH balance as more bad bacteria thrives in the genital than the good bacteria. Upon diagnosing the health issue, the medical practitioner will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

Alternative health practitioners believe that diet has something to do with the prevention and control of bacterial vaginosis. This concept is not acceptable in the medical world because clinicians do not link certain diets that can contribute to BV.

But as the saying that goes, there is no harm in trying dietary changes. Changing the diet may help in preventing the infection and may help treat an existing condition and its possible recurrence.

Foods to Eat to Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis

1. Lactobacillus acidophilus: LA is a friendly bacterium that is needed in the body to maintain a healthy pH level. When the pH level is more than 4.5, it signifies that there is abnormality in the gut flora that results to vaginal infections. Whether it is candidiasis or vaginosis, lactobacillus supplements should be taken to avoid bacterial infections. Foods that contain this friendly bacterium, such as yogurt, milk with acidophulus and kefir cai bring back the vaginal ecosystem balance.

Women who include Lactobacillus acidophilus LA in their diet are less likely to have vaginal infections according to a report by The Health Professional’s Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements.

2. Garlic: It has been mentioned several times that garlic is a natural antibiotic. Take a clove of minced garlic daily to prevent infections in the body. Be sure to add garlic to your fried rice and sautéed dishes. Garlic taste better when cooked. It is only a state of mind that garlic produces bad breath since the odor that it releases from the mouth is very different from the mouth odor caused by cavities and ulcers. You can concoct a garlic soup with vegetables for variation.

3. Teas: Tea is an ancient Chinese medicinal drink that is sourced from the dried leaves of anevergreen shrub called Camellia sinensis. Today teas can be made at home using different herbs and among them is echinacea to treat bacterial vaginosis. Aside from using it as antiseptic, it can be drunk as tea. Make it a habit to drink tea instead of drinking coffee or carbonated drinks. Drink tea without adding sugar.

4. Flaxseeds: These seeds can be used as external and internal medicine. For internal use, soak the seeds overnight and drink it the following morning as a tea. For external use, you can use it as oil extract or compress by applying it to the vaginal area. It is effective in other uses such as treatment for common colds, fever, eye sores, respiratory illness, gout and rheumatism.

5. Whole grains: They are great sources of nutrition and in preventing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inflammation caused by bacterial vaginosis. Eat plenty of whole grain foods to keep the immune system healthy.

6. Drink plenty of water: Tater is an effective detoxifier and if you are suffering from bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections, it can help flush out the bacteria from your vagina. Drink eight to ten glasses of water daily to eliminate the bacteria aid keep you hydrated.

7. Fruits & Vegetables: These foods contain dietary fiber that helps flush out the toxins and bad bacteria in the body. They are great sources of Vitamin C and other nutrients needed to improve the immune system.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Sugar: This can aggravate the infection. The more sugar your body has, the more bacteria thrive ill the vagina.
  • Coffee: Too much caffeine in the body can also halt the effectiveness of antibiotics.
  • Alcohol: Medications for bacterial vaginosis should not be taken along with alcohol because the treatment is not effective.
  • Processed foods: This includes canned goods, preserved foods, and cured meat. The preservatives and salt can cause itching and pain in vagina.
  • Fermented foods: Salted fish and cured meat are high in salt that can trigger redness and swelling in the vagina and other skin disorders. Refrain from eating dried fish, fermented fish, shrimp, cheese and bean curd.
  • Foods high in carbohydrates: Carbohydrates will be converted to sugar when ingested in the body and that can worsen the infection.
  • Salty foods: They increase urinary retention and cause skin allergies. If you have an existing bacterial vaginosis, salty foods can trigger the itching and inflammation.
  • Oily foods: Saturated fats can only harm to an existing bacterial infection in the same manner that they harm the body.

Good nutrition is essential to avoid the risks of bacterial infections and inflammations. Both pregnant and non-pregnant women have a greater chance of getting vaginosis if they have poor nutrition as the bacteria and microscopic organisms can penetrate their genitals. The
lack of micronutrients and phytonutrients in the body that can be garnered from fruits and vegetables may invite the bad bacteria to dominate in the body including the female reproductive system.

Holistic Approach To Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis

Most women suffering from bacterial vaginosis feel insecure and lose their self-esteem. They are ashamed to mingle with their friends and co-workers for fear that the fishy-smelling vaginal discharge will be noticeable to them. But if these women know how to handle and manage their medical problem, they do not need to lurk in the four corners of their homes. Instead, they can still be the normal person that they used to be. This section is dedicated to holistic approach in self-care towards the prevention and treatment of bacterial vaginosis, hoping that it can help women and correct their misconceptions about bacterial vaginosis and its relationship with STI or HIV.

Risk factors of bacterial vaginosis today

Bisexual relationships: The bacterium that is responsible in BV infection can be passed on from a female to a female in same sex relationships. Lesbians should refrain from having sex with a female partner if they are unsure of their medical condition. They are advised to consult a gynecologist and follow the medical regimen as the infection can recur in a few months after the treatment.

Promiscuity: A one-night stand can be dangerous if the woman is a carrier of BV or STD; therefore, men are advised to wear condoms to avoid transmitting the infection to another female partner. Although vaginosis is a woman’s disease, the possibility of transferring the bacteria from the penis to the vagina should be considered.

Misuse of antibiotics: Skipping and stopping the antibiotic prescribed can be dangerous as the bacteria and parasites in the body become more resistant, thus causing the recurrence of the infection.

Use of intrauterine device: IUDs and diaphragms is sometimes linked to vaginal infections. Make sure that you visit your obstetrician-gynecologist ever month to check the condition of your birth control devices.

Poor hygiene: Personal hygiene is essential to avoid infection. To avoid bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and STDs, both partners are
advised by clinicians to clean their genitals before and after sex. Men should wash their penis and women should wash their vagina before having sex and if they are in a hurry to do the act, they should use a condom to safeguard them from possible genital infection.

Dealing with Bacterial Vaginosis

Both men and women should be educated when it comes to prevention, treatment and managing bacterial infection in their genitals. Men should understand the importance of good health and it should not only focus on the other organs of the human body. The reproductive system consists of parts that are prone to various diseases  that could have been prevented if both sexual partners take some precautionary measures before and after sexual intercourse. Both partners should be taught about personal hygiene, which is a simple thing that they can do to avoid getting an infection.

  • For men, wash your penis with soap and water before and after sex.
  • For women, wash your vagina with mild soap and water before and after sex.
  • For bisexuals, always clean sex toys before and after using.
  • Always change the bedding after the sexual intercourse.
  • Disinfect the bathroom.
  • For men, wear a condom if you have multiple sexual partners.
  • Know the medical history of your sexual partner.
  • Do not overdo vaginal washing.
  • Avoid using menstrual devices as they can irritate the vaginal lining.
  • Boost your immune system by taking Vitamin C & D to avoid infections.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day to keep you healthy.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Tear cotton underwear instead of synthetic fabrics.
  • Men should be treated if they are infected with an STD to avoid the vicious cycle.
  • Always maintain the right body mass index based on your age, weight and height.
  • Do not eat preserved, fermented, sugary, oily and inorganic foods.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink a lot of water every day.
  • Have a positive attitude in life.
  • Hit the gym.
  • Apply the home remedies mentioned in this article.
  • Join a women’s club and share your journey in dealing with BV.
  • Get involved in advocacy campaigns that support women’s health.

Bacterial vaginosis is not difficult to treat if the patient follows the doctor’s recommendation religiously. This medical condition can infect any woman, regardless of age, race, sexual activity and status in life. If you suspect yourself of having symptoms of By, seek medical help
immediately. Early intervention in treating BV is important. Make an appointment with your health care provider and get the treatment started. You will be glad you did.

Conclusion

Bacterial vaginosis is common in women who are in their reproductive age. It is transferable between female sexual partners and can recur even after antibiotic therapy. Pregnant women and those who have a history of recurrence should immediately visit a doctor to avoid
further complications.

This article provides readers with insights regarding bacterial vaginosis and why women should not be complacent, even if they do not have any symptoms.

The first section of this article talked about the genus Gardne rella vaginalis, its symptoms, causes and treatment.

The second section focused on bacterial vaginosis, causes and factors that contribute to vaginosis, and its complications.

The third talked about diagnosing By, tests and exams, routine questions that patients must answer and the importance of calling a doctor.

The fourth section discussed further the tips on its prevention, when to call a doctor and the medical practitioners to call.

In section five, readers learned about the relationship between pregnancy and bacterial vaginosis, screening and treatment of pregnant women.

In section six home remedies for the prevention and treatment of bacterial vaginosis was discussed.

Section seven  gave insight into sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and their relationship with bacterial vaginosis, management and educating patients and recommendations.

Section eight focused on health care advice, managing recurrence and tips on getting rid of vaginal odor.

Section nine discussed ways to improve diet and foods to steer clear of to avoid BV.

The last section discussed holistic approaches to dealing with bacterial vaginosis. It emphasized iatural ways to treat bacterial vaginosis.

I hope this article was able to help you understand bacterial vaginosis and the steps you need to take to conquer it.

The next step is to follow the advice and procedures I’ve shared on bacterial vaginosis. How to prevent infections, the importance of medications, diet changes and holistic approaches you should take to avoid its recurrence.

I wish you all the best as you endeavor to heal your body and improve your health!

Lorene Garcia

Dr. Lorene Garcia is a a former Gynecologist based in Miami, Florida who has more than 10 years experience gynaecology. I'm a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and love to help women with gynecological problems.