Smelling The Essence Of Bacterial Vaginosis

By Sheryl Eleazar | Last Updated December 7, 2012

It is quite common for women to acquire Bacterial Vaginosis. Learn more about this infection in order to protect yourself from the risks it can expose you to.

BV is how people abbreviate or call Bacterial Vaginosis for short. It is a very common condition (probably as common as a cold) among women in the childbearing age bracket.  This condition occurs when there is an imbalance of bacteria in a woman’s vaginal area or if there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Which Signs Must You Look Out For?

Women suffering from BV usually experience abnormal discharges from their vagina. Vaginal discharges could be bearable, except that it smells really unpleasant. BV sufferers even complain that their precious part down south emits a really pungent fishy odor particularly after they have had intercourse. The discharge is thin and is usually whitish or grayish. When urinating, BV sufferers also experience a burning sensation. The area around or outside the vagina may also be itchy.

Up to 50 to 75 percent of women with BV have no symptoms. 1  

Nonetheless, there are also women with BV who do not experience any disturbing signs at all. It is only upon examination with an Ob-Gyne that they discover they actually have it.  One third, actually, of women who go to obstetric clinics are diagnosed to be infected.

Diagnosis Of BV

BV is frequently mistaken as the common yeast infection since its symptoms are similar to other vaginal infections.  When you suspect that you have BV, a doctor will examine the physical symptoms. Moreover, laboratory tests will be performed wherein the vaginal fluid will be inspected to determine the presence of BV-associated bacteria.

Diagnosis of BV in clinical practice is performed using the Amsel criteria. If a minimum of three among the criteria mentioned below are observed, then a BV diagnosis will be confirmed.

  • there is thin, homogenous, white or yellow discharge
  • presence of clue cells upon microscopic evaluation (such as shown in the image above)
  • the pH level of vaginal fluid is greater than 4.5
  • fishy odor is released when an alkali (10% potassium hydroxide) is added

How Widespread The Infection Is

Bacterial vaginosis is very common. Millions of women have this condition. Out of every 10 women, between 1 and 4 will have it. 2  

BV is very common, but incidences generally vary.  About 11 to 48 percent of women around the world of childbearing age, are infected with BV.

How A Woman May Get Infected

Doctors don’t know exactly why bacterial vaginosis develops, but certain activities, such as unprotected sexual intercourse or frequent douching, put you at higher risk of the condition. 3  

Aiming to fight this condition, it certainly pays to know which ways it can possibly contaminate you.  Even if the cause of BV is not exactly known, but one thing is sure: any woman could acquire the infection. There are certain behaviors and practices of women that can increase the risk of harmful bacteria overgrowth in the vagina, such as frequent change of sex partners and vaginal douching. Even if you were a complete virgin when it comes to sex, you can also be infected.

Risks Associated With BV

Although no complications could arise from an untreated Bacterial Vaginosis, it is also noteworthy to know that there are serious health risks that the infection could expose you to.

If you happen to be exposed to the HIV virus, you have higher chances of getting infected with it if you have BV.  In the same way, if you have BV and HIV, you have greater chances of transmitting it to your sex partner.  Likewise, you would also be more susceptible to other sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and herpes.

If you have just undergone a surgical procedure like hysterectomy, BV can also increase the possibility of an infection associated with your operation.

Vaginal Humor

The average vagina is approximately one centimeter shallower than the average penis is long. The purpose of this discrepancy is to prevent the woman from continually shouting “MORE! MORE!” during sex which is really exasperating when you’re already giving her everything you’ve got.

A woman is at home when she hears someone knock at the door. She opens the door and sees a man standing there.

He asks the lady ‘Do you have a vagina’. She slams the door in disgust.

The next morning she hears a knock at the door and it is the same man and he asks the same question of the woman ‘Do you have a vagina’. She slams the door again.

Later that night when her husband gets home she tells him what has happened for the last two days. The husband tells the wife in a loving and concerned voice ‘Honey I am taking tomorrow off to be home just in case this guy shows up again’.

The next morning they hear a knock at the door and both run for the door.

The husband says to the wife in a whispered voice ‘Honey, I’m going to hide behind the door and listen and if it is the same guy I want you to answer yes to the question because I want to see where he is going with this’. She nods yes to her husband and opens the door.

Sure enough the same fellow is standing there and asks the same question.

‘Do you have vagina’…….

‘Yes’ she says……

The man replies… ‘Good! Would you mind telling your husband to start using yours and leave my wife’s alone ! ’

If You Were Pregnant And Have BV

Pregnant women with BV more often have babies who are born premature or with low birth weight (low birth weight is less than 5.5 pounds). 4  

Bacterial Vaginosis can lead to premature delivery of your baby; that or your baby will be delivered on time, but with low birth weight. Untimely rupturing of the membranes due to the infection causes premature delivery. Your uterus and fallopian tubes may be exposed to pelvic inflammatory disease or PID when you have BV. PID damages the fallopian tube and renders you infertile, thus, you are likely to have an ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg is placed outside the uterus to grow) in the future or not be able to conceive at all.

Finally, the most important of all:

How Is BV Treated

There are cases of BV when treatments are not needed since the infection clears on its own. Treatments are usually not administered by patients who show no symptoms. However, if you show BV signs, medications have to be administered to prevent possible complications, especially if you are pregnant.

Natural Remedies

You probably have read about natural BV remedies such as the use of probiotics. For some women, this may work well, but efficiency in results is actually inconsistent. There are no clear benefits shown from using probiotic as cure for the infection.

Antibiotic Remedies

Antibiotics are usually prescribed by doctors for treating the infection. One example of antibiotic for BV is Metronidazole that can be taken orally in the form of pills or by applying it directly into the vagina in the form of a gel. Orally taking the antibiotic can produce some adverse effects, but it is a method that is believed to be most effective. With gel medication, you can expect to develop yeast vaginitis as a side effect.  Other antibiotics are Clindamycin in vaginal cream form and Tinidazole that has fewer adverse effects than Metronidazole. Take note that even after your BV has been cured, there are still chances that it could recur.  If it does, you will need to take a second course of antibiotic medication as prescribed by your doctor.

The best course of action is to always know how to prevent bacterial vaginosis from occurring in the first place. Preventive measures involve reducing the dangers of causing imbalance in the vagina. Various  preventive methods include abstinence from sexual intercourse, loyalty to just one sexual partner, staving off douching and, in the case of post-BV-affliction, finish your prescribed medications even if the symptoms have already subsided.




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