Bacterial Vaginosis refers to an infection of the vagina caused due to an imbalance in the normal bacterial growth, which is generally found in the vagina. When the amount of these bacteria is in the normal range, there are no issues, but when they start to grow abnormally, that is when the problem starts to occur. It can cause problems for women that are either trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant. In some cases, bacterial Vaginosis does not cause any symptoms, but when they show up, they include the following:
- a burning feeling while peeing
- a fishy smell coming out of the vagina especially after having sex
- vaginal itching
- a thin vaginal discharge that can be either white, green or gray in color
Most women confuse these symptoms with those of yeast infection; however, they greatly differ from one another as in the case of a yeast infection, the viscosity of the discharge is usually thicker with no particular odor accompanying it.
If someone is experiencing a burning sensation while peeing coupled with itching, thin vaginal discharge that is either green or gray-colored, and pain getting help by taking over-the-counter medicines for yeast infection is not the best idea as the symptoms might point towards a possible infection of the vagina known as bacterial Vaginosis.
The vaginal infection affects almost every woman at some point in their lives. However, in order to get the required treatment, the symptoms must be checked by a doctor first as the treatment might vary according to the difference in the symptoms experienced. Diagnosis might involve a physical examination followed by the doctor evaluating the patient’s medical history and asking some personal questions. Additionally, a sample test might also be done.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when the natural balance between the good and bad bacteria found in the vagina is disturbed by the abnormal growth of the bad bacteria. The main reason for abnormal vaginal discharge includes trichomoniasis, bacterial Vaginosis, and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VCC), which is also known as a yeast infection.
All these infections of the vagina exhibit almost similar symptoms; however, there are variations in them, so they are treated in different ways. For instance, the discharge caused due to vulvovaginal candidiasis (VCC) is cottage cheese-like in texture while the discharge caused due to trichomoniasis is somewhat greenish-yellow in color.
However, to ascertain what they are in reality, they need to be properly checked by a doctor, so one should not depend on the sight of the symptoms alone.
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
A lot of women do not take infections of the vagina seriously, and they either wait for the symptoms to go away on their own or try to self-medicate with over-the-counter medicines. An online survey undertaken by Healthywomen with the help of Symbiomix Therapeutics was done on a total of 1969 women, it was found that just 4 in 10 women consulted a doctor in case of abnormal discharge from the vagina.
Instead of consulting a doctor, the other six women took help from their friends, family, or the internet and took over-the-counter medicines to cure themselves. Along with that, they also took the help of home remedies or simply waited for the signs of going away on their own.
In most cases, the symptoms associated with bacterial Vaginosis go away on their own without any treatment, but there are certain cases in which medical help is needed.
Some medicines can completely cure bacterial Vaginosis, but if someone does not seek treatment on time, it can lead the symptoms to worsen and spread to other parts of the body. It can also make the person susceptible to getting sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and pelvic inflammatory disease, which can result in infertility.
Therefore as soon as the symptoms appear, it is very important to get evaluated by a doctor.
When it comes to its treatment, Bacterial Vaginosis can easily be treated with the help of antibiotics. These antibiotics can either be administered orally, or they can be inserted in the vagina itself with the help of an applicator. As with all medicines, these antibiotics come with their own side effects; therefore, before taking them, it is important to consult the doctor and read the label to make sure of its possible side effects.
The medicines, whether creams or oral pills, should be taken for the full prescribed period and should not be discontinued in between even if the symptoms go away. The vaginal creams are prescribed for a period of 5 days while the pills are prescribed for 7 days. To let the medicines work properly, it is important not to consume alcohol while on treatment.
Sometimes due to the certain negative effects of the medicines, some women are not comfortable using it regularly, so they ask for a different option. Among those women that are on the bacterial vaginosis medication as much as 9 out of 10 women were interested in taking medication orally and that too just once as bacterial vaginosis medications come with certain side effects that might interfere with the patient’s sex life.
A lot of women fail to complete their treatment course, the reason being the side effects that come with the bacterial vaginosis antibiotic medications. Along with that, the other reasons include having to abstain from consuming alcohol and also because the symptoms go away even before the course is over. Not completing the treatment course comes with its own risks, which include the infection coming back again.
For someone that has a male sexual partner, they do not need to get them tested as well; however, if the sexual partner is a female, in that case, they should also get tested for bacterial Vaginosis. It has been said that consuming foods that contain probiotics like sauerkraut, yogurt and such might help in treating and preventing the infection; however, because of the lack of proper research in that area, nothing can be said.
If someone is experiencing the symptoms of bacterial Vaginosis instead of relying on the internet and self-medicating, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.