Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bacterial Vaginosis

Determining the nature of the problem when one is experiencing vaginal discomfort, irritation or discharge is a concern.

The most common vaginal bacteria infections are bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis and vaginal yeast infections. The most prevalent of these is bacterial vaginosis (or BV). This generally occurs among women of childbearing age. Researchers are unsure if sexual activity plays a role.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include the presence of a whitish-greyish discharge that has a fishy odor. In fact, women have reported that this fishy vaginal odor is most prevalent after sex. Other symptoms may include a thin vaginal discharge (white or grey), uncomfortable or painful urination, or itching around the vagina.

Bacterial vaginosis indicates a change in the growth of natural bacteria in the vagina. As such, this chemical imbalance occurs when different types of bacteria outnumber the good bacteria. Instead of the presence of Lactobacillus (a type of normal bacteria that can live naturally in the vagina), increased numbers of bacteria such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Bacteroides, Mobiluncus, and Mycoplasma hominis are found in the vaginas of women with recurrent bacterial vaginosis. This means that the good bacteria are being pushed out by the bad bacteria – they are all in competition for limited space within the vagina. Generally, the good bacteria are aerobic ( require oxygen ) whereas the bad bacteria are anaerobic ( do not require oxygen ).

Changing sexual partners, using an IUD (intrauterine device), and douching may increase a woman’s risk of getting recurring BV. In essence, not much is known about how women get chronic bacterial vaginosis. Women who have a new sex partner or who have had multiple sex partners are more likely to develop symptoms of BV. Women who have never had sexual intercourse are rarely affected. It is not clear what role sexual activity plays in the development of vaginosis bacteriana, and there are many unanswered questions about the role that harmful bacteria play in causing the infection. Women do not get BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around them.

Acquiring a vaginal bacteria infection is not uncommon. In 50% of known cases, symptoms of bacterial vaginosis or indications are not present. Generally, women of childbearing age are the prime candidates for this type of infection. As many as 16% of all pregnant women have bacterial vaginosis. To diagnose BV, a health professional will test for bacterial vaginosis by conducting a lab test on the vaginal fluid. BV does not pose a serious health threat, although there have been cases where it has caused infections in the uterus or fallopian tubes. As well, there has been association between BV and pelvic inflammatory disease. This, in turn may lead to infertility and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.

Other problems that cytolytic vaginosis may cause include premature babies and low-birth weight babies. Therefore, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women who have delivered a premature baby be tested for BV, regardless of whether symptoms are present. And finally, BV may be associated with increased chances of contracting gonorrhea or HIV. Preventing BV means limiting the risk of upsetting the bacterial balance present in the vagina. This is associated with practicing abstinence or at the very least, limiting the number of sexual partners and not douching.

While there are no proven cures for bacterial vaginosis there are home remedies for bacterial vaginosis as well as bacterial vaginosis treatments.

1 comment:

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