What is bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection caused by an excessive amount of certain bacteria that changes the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina.
How common is bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15 to 44.
How does bacterial vaginosis spread?
Researchers do not know what causes bacterial vaginosis (BV) or how some women get it, but what we do know is that the infection commonly occurs in sexually active women. Bacterial vaginosis is associated with an imbalance of "good" and "bad" bacteria, which are normally found in a woman's vagina.
Having a new sexual partner or multiple sexual partners, as well as douching, can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at higher risk for bacterial vaginosis
We also don't know how intercourse contributes to bacterial vaginosis. There is no research work that shows whether a woman will contract this infection or not, in the event that her sexual partner is treated. Having bacterial vaginosis can increase your chance of getting other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Bacterial vaginosis rarely affects women who have never had sex.
People cannot get bacterial vaginosis from contact with toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools.
How can I avoid getting bacterial vaginosis?
Doctors and scientists do not fully know how bacterial vaginosis spreads, and there are no better ways to prevent it.
The following basic prevention measures can help reduce your risk of bacterial vaginosis:
- Not having sex.
- Limit the number of sexual partners.
- Do not douche
How do I know if I have bacterial vaginosis?
Many women with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms. If you have symptoms, you may notice a thin, white or grey vaginal discharge, odour, pain, itching, or burning from the vagina. Some women have a strong fishy smell, especially after they have had sex. You may also feel burning when urinating or itching on the outside of your vagina or both.
How will my doctor know if I have bacterial vaginosis?
Your healthcare provider will examine your vagina for signs of vaginal discharge and take a sample of it for laboratory tests to determine if you have bacterial vaginosis.
Can bacterial vaginosis be cured?
Bacterial vaginosis sometimes goes away without treatment. But if you do have symptoms of this condition, you should get tested and treated. It is important to take all of the medications that are prescribed for you, even if your symptoms go away. A healthcare provider can treat bacterial vaginosis with antibiotics, but it can come back even after treatment. Treatment can also reduce the risk of some sexually transmitted diseases.
Male sexual partners of women who have been diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis generally do not need treatment. However, bacterial vaginosis can be transmitted between female sexual partners.
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