The Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of BV
Living within the vagina are microorganisms, many of which are bacteria. There are both "good" and "bad" bacteria that are called lactobacilli and anaerobes, respectively. Usually, there is no need to worry about the anaerobes because they are greatly outnumbered by the lactobacilli. However, if the acidity level (pH) of the vagina becomes imbalanced, it can result in the overproduction of anaerobes. Too many anaerobes can result in bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV.
BV happens to be the most common vaginal infection for women, and it often affects pregnant women. The majority of women who contract this infection are of childbearing age and are sexually active. In truth, any woman can get BV, however women who have unprotected sex with one or multiple partners are at a higher risk. Women who douche regularly are also more prone to this infection. BV actually spreads during sexual intercourse, although it is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection. While these activities can cause the woman to be more likely to get BV, doctors are still unsure of what the true, initial cause of this infection really is.
The vagina of a woman is one of the softest and most sensitive body parts she has, and the acidity level (pH) is extremely important to her overall health. If the acidity level rises too high, it can cause a microorganism imbalance. This imbalance may very well consist of the anaerobes outnumbering the lactobacilli, and since these bacteria are the most prominent organisms residing within the vagina, it can eventually lead to vaginosis. For these reasons, BV can surely crop up in women who are not sexually active, although it is not as common.
Signs and symptoms of BV are unpleasant vaginal odor (especially after sexual intercourse), itching and irritation of the vagina, thin and grayish white vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, burning sensation during urination and light vaginal bleeding. Interestingly enough, however, there are many women who have BV but are not experiencing any signs or symptoms.
There are numerous women who attempt to self-treat their BV, but oftentimes it is highly necessary to consult with a doctor. It is especially important to schedule a doctor’s appointment if you have never had a vaginal infection before; in this case, the doctor can determine and let you know what most likely caused this infection, and they can educate you on the ways to identify future signs or symptoms. Another instance when you should most definitely schedule a doctor's appointment is if you have had a previous vaginal infection, but are experiencing unfamiliar symptoms.
You should also go to a doctor if you have foul vaginal odor, a fever, or a yeast infection that you tried to treat yourself with an over-the-counter anti-yeast medication and your symptoms have not left. If you have a new sex partner or multiple partners, it is extremely important to see a doctor if you are having any of these symptoms because it may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection; the symptoms of BV and many other sexually transmitted infections are very similar.
Women often get over-the-counter antibiotic treatment for these bacteria without the need for any other treatment. Unfortunately however, in many instances these bacteria are a recurring issue that comes back as soon as the woman thinks she is cured. Even though vaginosis itself is not a harmful issue (although it is certainly frustrating) it is highly important to rid the problem as soon as possible. Many women who deal with reoccurrences of this irritation become psychologically disturbed because of the bothersome side effects.
If a woman fails to fix the problem of BV immediately, they can possibly become more susceptible to other vaginal related issues such as preterm labor, infections, and even sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes simplex virus (HSV) or even HIV. Other extremely serious problems that can show up if vaginosis is not eradicated quickly include: cervicitis, an issue within the uterus orifice, or endometritis, which is a pelvic inflammatory disease. There have been cases of women who increased their risk of other infections by having bacterial vaginosis, and resulted in having to get an abortion or hysterectomy. The immediate elimination of this ailment cannot be stressed enough.
BV is usually treated by over-the-counter antibiotics. There is an issue with this however; the antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause the issue, but they do not restore the proper pH balance of the vagina. Moreover, the root of the issue has not been resolved, and the woman may have to deal with the reoccurrence of vaginosis. It is important to find a way to completely eliminate bacterial vaginosis by getting the acidity level of the vagina back to normal, and keeping the anaerobes in the minority.
It is undeniably imperative to completely eradicate BV immediately to prevent a reoccurrence. There are numerous women who go through a reoccurrence of the infection despite the fact that antibiotics kill the unwanted bacteria (anaerobes). This is because the extermination of anaerobes does not restore the proper vaginal pH balance. While you should surely consult with your doctor and find out as much information regarding this infection as possible, there are many women who choose natural vaginosis remedies over popular antibiotics; several of these have proven to restore the pH balance, thereby fixing the root of the issue.
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