The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis is not known. However, it is thought to result from an overgrowth of bacteria that live naturally in the vagina.
You are more likely to have bacterial vaginosis if you:
• Are taking or have recently been treated with antibiotics
• Regularly douche (rinse or flush your vagina)• Use perfumed products in or around the vagina
• Use an intrauterine device (IUD)
• Have unprotected sex, particularly with a new partner or multiple partners
Bacterial vaginosis may increase your risk of other conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases
, pelvic inflammatory disease, and complications during pregnancy.
However, BV is not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Also note that sexually inactive women can develop BV.
In about half of all cases of BV, there are no symptoms.
Symptoms may be more noticeable during menstrual periods.
When symptoms occur, they may include:
• White or grey watery vaginal discharge
• Unpleasant or ‘fishy’ vaginal odor
• Burning sensation when passing urine
Vaginal swabs are taken for culture and testing. The cultures identify the type of infection.
For sexually active women, additional testing may be recommended to exclude sexually transmitted diseases
such as chlamydia
High vaginal PH is strongly suggestive of BV.
BV does not normally cause serious complications.
However, untreated BV may:
• Increased risk of premature deliveries and low birth weight babies in pregnant women
• Increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases
such as HIV, herpes simplex virus, chlamydia
• Increased risk of developing post-surgical infections after gynecologic surgery, such as hysterectomy and dilation and curettage (D&C)
• Increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (infections of the uterus and fallopian tubes), which can increase the risk of infertility
No treatment is required if there are no symptoms.
However, if you are pregnant, it is important to seek treatment because there is a risk of complications such as miscarriage and premature delivery.
Antibiotic treatment is given as oral tablets, or a vaginal antibiotic cream or gel. More than one course of treatment may be needed.
Lifestyle changes and use of appropriate probiotics are other options available.
Treatment of male sexual partners is not recommended. However, it may be spread between female sexual partners and screening may be considered on a case by case basis.It is not uncommon for BV to recur within 3-12 months after treatment. Cross Street Medical
offers all relevant treatments for BV. Speak to our doctors about what you may need. Female doctors are available by appointment.
You can reduce the risks of getting BV:
• After going to the toilet, always wipe gently, from the front to the back, to stop bacteria from getting into the vagina
• Use pads instead of tampons, as tampons can change the normal balance of vaginal bacteria
• Avoid smoking
• Avoid vaginal deodorants, washes or douching
• Avoid perfumed soaps, bubble baths or shower gels
• Avoid using strong detergents to wash undergarments
• Avoid multiple sex partners
• Always use condoms, including during oral sex
• Be in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for HIV and other STDs/STIs