Encyclopedia

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a type of inflammation of the vagina, which is the result of an excessive increase in the amount of one or several types of bacteria that normally inhabit the vagina and disrupts the balance of the vaginal microflora.

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Women of reproductive age are most often affected, however, bacterial infection can occur at any age.

Doctors are not sure what is the cause of the inflammation, but it is believed that the constant change of sexual partners and too frequent cleaning of the vagina are predisposing factors.

What are the symptoms?

• Vaginal discharge with grayish color;
• Unpleasant fishy smell from the vagina especially after intercourse;
• Vaginal itching;
• Burning during urination;

However, many affected women do not develop the characteristic clinical manifestations.

When to seek medical attention?

You may need to see your doctor if you experience vaginal discomfort and if:

• You have never had a vaginal infection, and the medical professional will determine the cause and give you information on how to identify the manifestation of new clinical symptoms.

• You have had vaginal infections before, but these symptoms are different.

• You have had multiple sexual partners or have recently had a new partner, as you may have acquired a sexually transmitted disease.

And the clinical manifestations of bacterial infection are very similar to those of sexually transmitted diseases.

• If you have tried self-treatment of a yeast infection with over-the-counter antifungal preparations, but the symptoms persist and your body temperature rises or you have a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor.

What are the causes?

The disease results from an overgrowth of one or more organisms that normally exist in the vagina. Usually “good” bacteria /lactobacilli/ are more than “bad” /anaerobes/ in the vagina.

But if anaerobic microorganisms are too numerous, they upset the natural balance of microorganisms in the vagina and it becomes inflamed.

Usually, bacterial infection does not cause complications.

But under certain circumstances it can lead to:

• Premature birth – in pregnant women, the disease does not allow sufficient fetal weight gain and premature birth;

• Sexually transmitted infections – bacterial inflammation of the vagina makes women more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, herpes simplex viruses, chlamydia or gonorrhea.

In the presence of HIV, a bacterial vaginal infection increases the chance of transmitting the virus to a sexual partner.

• Increased risk of infection after gynecological surgery – vaginal inflammation is usually associated with an increased risk of developing a postoperative infection after procedures such as hysterectomy or dilation and curettage.

• Pelvic inflammatory disease – sometimes the disease can become the cause of TB, infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes, which creates a risk of infertility.

Treatment of bacterial vaginosis

Medical therapy with one of the following drugs is most often used:

Metronidazole – the medication can be taken orally in the form of a tablet. It can also be used topically, as a gel that is applied to the vaginal mucosa.

In order to avoid side effects such as stomach upset, abdominal pain or nausea, while using the medicine avoid drinking alcohol.

• Clindamycin – the drug is available in the form of a cream applied vaginally.

It is recommended not to have sex while using it and for 3 days afterwards, as it can weaken the latex condoms and they can break easily.

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