What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis and How to Treat its Smell?
Bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV, is a type of vaginal inflammation that occurs when the bacteria in the vagina becomes unbalanced. The condition can be a one-off, but some women experience recurrent bacterial vaginosis.
Our bodies are full of natural bacterias and most of them are harmless. Many are actually important to the proper functioning of our bodies. However, if any of these bacteria get out of balance or experience overgrowth, you can end up with conditions like BV.
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
- An unpleasant odour that is worse after sex or menstruation
- Itching, burning, or pain when peeing
- A strong fish-like odour
- Vaginal discharge that is milky or grey
- More frequent vaginal discharge
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
The exact cause of BV isn’t fully known, but it tends to happen more often when women are in their childbearing years. It isn’t a sexually transmitted disease, but women who are sexually active are also at most risk, especially if they have multiple partners. Periods and some medications can throw off your vagina’s natural environment, too.
Recent research has started to suggest that gut health may play a bigger part in vaginal health than was previous thought. Your gut also has bacteria within it and the bacteria helps with digestion, your immune system, your skin, and possibly your vaginal microbiome. It’s thought that because the anus and vagina are close together, it may even be possible for bad bacteria in your gut to travel to the vagina.
Your diet and the gut microbiome are linked which is why it’s recommended to consume probiotics in the form of yoghurts and supplements. It’s unclear if probiotics will help maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome, but since the gut and vagina appear to be linked it’s worth getting probiotics into your diet anyway.
Having a healthy vaginal microbiome makes you less likely to get STI’s, some cancers, and other types of vaginal infections. Some ways to prevent BV include not using perfumes or perfumed soaps in or around the vagina. You should only use warm water to clean the genitals so don’t use products like douches. Be sure to always wipe back to front after using the toilet.
You should also limit how often you wear tight, synthetic clothing and try to wear natural fibres like cotton underwear.
Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment
It’s important to treat BV and let it fully clear up so that you don’t develop any complications, especially if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. When you are pregnant and have BV, health risks and pregnancy complications are much more likely. BV has been linked to miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight.
Bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotics that will kill the bacteria causing the infection. BV antibiotics can be taken as a tablet or can be inserted into the vagina as a cream or gel.
- Metronidazole Tablets: A broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be used to treat BV and to stop the infection from spreading.
- Dalacin Cream: A topical antibiotic vaginal cream that you insert into the vagina with the included applicator.