Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common bacterial infection of the vagina caused by an imbalance of the microbes found naturally inside the vagina. The vagina contains lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that produces lactic acid and helps to prevent other bacteria from growing. If other bacteria, such as Gardnerella vaginalis, enter the vagina, they can harm the lactobacilli fostering other more problematic bacteria to multiply. Leading to the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis i.e. irritation, fishy odor, and vaginal discharge.
A healthy vagina has several Lacto acidic environments that work to stop other bacteria from proliferating and infecting the vagina. Other bacteria getting inside the vagina and harming the lactobacilli is what causes bacterial vaginosis. This changes the environment’s pH, enabling the growth of more bacteria and resulting in the symptoms of itchiness, fishy odor, and vaginal discharge.
There are various factors that may increase your likelihood of getting bacterial vaginosis. These risk factors include:
- Decreased estrogen production
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
- Increased sexual activity or having multiple partners:
- Bubble baths or scented products
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Various factors might produce such a bacterial imbalance, but the precise workings of these macrobiotic processes are yet unknown, and discussion in the medical world is continuing.
50% of women with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms, and you do not need to have all of these symptoms to have bacterial vaginosis. However, the following are the indications and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis:
- Fishy or ammonia-like vaginal odor – this often becomes apparent after sexual intercourse
- Mild to moderately increased vaginal discharge
- Greyish-white or thin and watery vaginal discharge
- Irritation of the vulva
- Pain during sex
- Pain when urinating
A bacterial vaginosis diagnosis is determined by inquiring about your symptoms through a physical examination and a swab test to screen out STIs that may produce similar symptoms.
- Asking about your symptoms
Your online consultation doctor will ask if you have symptoms such as irritation, fish odor, and vaginal discharge, as well as when you first noticed them and how long you have been experiencing them. The physician might also ask about your sexual behavior and how it relates to your symptoms.
- Physical examination
A doctor may examine your vagina to look for the following things:
- Vaginal discharge that is grey, transparent, and thin and sticks to the vaginal walls.
- The vaginal walls are gleaming more, but there is little or no indication of inflammation (redness, swelling, etc.).
- Swab examination
Internal swabs may be used to rule out the presence of STIs in the vagina. A lab test may be performed to determine the acidity of the vagina, as an alkaline environment may suggest infection. A microscopic examination of the discharge may also be performed to search for cells from the vaginal surface that have bacteria adhered to their surface.
You can receive a GetcareMD doctor prescription online which will most likely have an antibiotic medication (a pill, gel, or cream) to kill the infection. These might include:
- Clindamycin is a cream you use in your vagina. It sells under the brand names Cleocin and Clindesse. Clindamycin can damage latex condoms not just while you are taking it, but also for at least three days after you stop. The other three will not affect the birth control pill or patch.
- Metronidazole is available as a pill you swallow or a gel you insert in your vagina. This medication sells under the brand names Flagyl and Metrogel-Vaginal.
- Secnidazole is a single pill you take once, sold under the brand name Solosec.
Tinidazole is a pill you swallow, sold under the brand name Tindamax.
- Boric acid vaginal suppositories are commonly recommended after taking antibiotics to help restore normal vaginal acidity and balance vaginal flora. It can also be used as long-term maintenance therapy in some cases. They are available without a prescription at most drugstores and health food stores, or you can also order them online.
It is essential to take your prescription for the duration prescribed by your doctor. If you stop taking it too soon, you may increase the likelihood that BV may return. You should avoid alcohol, smoking, and multiple-partner sex, and make sure to use condoms.