Bacterial Vaginosis and Its Treatments

Originating from the word Vulvovaginitis which references the vulva (genitals of a woman that are external) and the vagina, vaginitis is typically paired with the term bacterial, forming the medical term bacterial vaginitis, and can be various conditions that cause inflammation or infection of the vagina. The infection or inflammation can be a result of organisms like bacteria, viruses or yeast. Things that have caused irritation to the area like sprays, chemicals and even clothing can also cause it. In addition to these two main areas, organisms exchanged during sex can also cause bacterial vaginitis.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginitis differ based on the cause and can also be present without any symptoms. When they are present the most common include:

An abnormal discharge coming from the vagina that is accompanied with an unpleasant odor.

A burning sensation while urinating.

Itching around the outside of the vagina.

Experiencing pain and/or discomfort while having sex.

What Kind of Vaginal Discharge is Normal?

It is normal for a woman's vagina to produce a slightly cloudy or clear discharge that is also odorless and non-irritating. At the time of a normal menstrual cycle, the discharge itself can change in consistency leading to the possibility of the discharge being a thin small amount or even watery sometimes, while being more extensive and thicker at other times. Since these types of discharge are completely normal, they do not require any bacterial vaginosis treatments.

When there is an odor or irritation accompanying a vaginal discharge, it is abnormal. The term irritation can be extended to itching, burning or the combination of the two. Often itching is experienced at any time of day, but most irritating or noticeable at night. Sexual intercourse typically makes any and all symptoms worse. Any woman, who experiences a change in her discharge relating to its smell, the amount or begins to have symptoms like those described, should see their doctor.

The most common types of vaginal infections include:

  • Yeast infections
  • Trichomoniasis vaginitis
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Chlamydia vaginitis
  • Viral vaginitis
  • Since self-diagnosis is not always easy or accurate, it is important to see a doctor in order to receive the correct bacterial vaginosis treatments. Often physicians can also have a slight struggle in determining the infection because more than one might be present simultaneously. While many will schedule to see a physician if they are having symptoms, an infection may exist without any symptoms, which is why it is important to keep up with your health no matter how well you feel.

    Although each of these vaginal infections can have different symptoms, it is not always easy for a woman to figure out which type she has. In fact, diagnosis can even be tricky for an experienced doctor. Part of the problem is that sometimes more than one type of infection can be present at the same time. And, an infection may even be present without any symptoms. If no bacterial vaginosis treatments are in place within a timely manner, it can become serious and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cervicitis, endometritis, pregnancy complications and post-operative infection.


    Non-infectious vaginitis

    An allergic reaction or irritation from fabric softeners, detergents, soaps, spermicidal products, douching, and vaginal sprays form what is known as non-infectious vaginitis.


    What are bacterial vaginosis treatments?

    In order for a treatment to work, the type of vaginitis has to be determined, this will allow for the correct treatment to be applied and/or prescribed. With that in mind, various types are listed below along with the currently known treatment.


    Yeast infections are typically treated with a suppository that is placed inside the vagina, or an anti-yeast cream. While there are numerous over-the-counter remedies,health care providers can and often do write prescriptions that can be filled at any pharmacy. Although a prescription isn't required for over-the-counter treatments, it is recommended that you see a physician so they can determine that the infection is indeed a "yeast"infection.


    Bacterial vaginosis has an antibiotic that must be prescribed by a health care provider. The antibiotic works by eliminating the "bad" bacteria and not disturbing, or leaving, the "good" bacteria. Vaginitis that has been transmitted because of sexual intercourse should be treated by a health care provider urgently. Until a visit to a health care provider has taken place and bacterial vaginosis treatments are in place so that no one else can be infected, sexual contact should be completely avoided in order to prevent transmitting it to a sexual partner.

    Trichomoniasis and Chlamydia are both treated with antibiotics that are prescribed by a health care provider. Although genital herpes and HPV are not curable (to date), they can be controlled with medications.

    Non-infectious vaginitis can be eliminated when the products that are causing the allergic reaction and/or irritation are no longer being used. However, most health care providers can prescribe something to get rid of the reaction that has already taken place.

    Since bacterial vaginosis treatments are handled differently, the importance of seeing a health care provider cannot be expressed enough. It is imperative that you are diagnosed properly in order to get the correct remedy prescribed. It is also recommended that women be seen annually for preventive measure if they don't have any symptoms, because each infection can be symptom less.


    Can Bacteria vaginitis be prevented?

    In order to decrease the chances of needing bacterial vaginosis treatments it is suggest that one:

    Avoid frequently occurring yeast infections, and try to avoid clothes that cause heat and moisture to form like nylon panties, and tight jeans.

    Avoid sprays, creams and douches in order to not risk killing the "good" bacteria, and to reduce your chances of becoming irritated.

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