Is Bacterial Vaginosis Sexually Transmitted
No – BV can affect any woman, including those who do not have sex. However, BV is more common amongst sexually active women than amongst non-sexually active women.
A woman can’t ‘catch’ BV from intercourse with a man, but BV is more likely to develop after a change in sexual partner, as – for reasons we don’t really understand – this can affect the balance of normal germs in the vagina.
Women who have sex with other women can pass each other the condition. This is probably because the anaerobic bacteria on the body of the woman with BV have become particularly good at overwhelming the lactobacilli, and are able to take the opportunity to spread further..
Testing The Acid Level Of Your Vagina
The discharge of BV has a typical pH level which is higher than normal vaginal pH.
pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14 . Pure water, which is neutral has a pH of 7.
- The normal pH of the vagina is 3.8-4.5.
- As soon as the pH increases above 4.5, anaerobic bacteria start to overgrow and lactobacilli start to die off.
Your doctor or nurse may suggest that they take a sample of your discharge and test it with some pH paper. You can buy a kit from a pharmacy to do this test yourself at home.
Medications For Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection in the vagina. It is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal odor and discharge in young women and is caused by a change in the balance and type of bacteria which are normally present in the vagina.
Although BV is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, the risk of developing BV seems to increase the more sexual partners a woman has.
Normally, Lactobacillus bacteria are the most common type of bacteria within the vagina. These produce chemicals that keep the vagina mildly acidic. In BV, numbers other types of bacteria within the vagina that are usually only present in small numbers increase and disrupt both the pH of the vagina and its lining. This can result in BV, and symptoms may include:
- Mild itching in and around the vagina
- Bad-smelling, fishy odor that is more noticeable during menstruation or after sex)
- Pain when urinating.
Some women with BV have no symptoms, which is a bit concerning because if BV isnt treated it can increase the chance of women developing STDs , pelvic inflammatory disease, and possibly increase the risk of miscarriage. In women who are pregnant, BV can result in premature labor and delivery, premature rupture of membranes, and postpartum uterine infections.
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Can Vaginosis Be Treated During Pregnancy
Bacterial vaginosis that develops during pregnancy can slightly increase the risk of premature birth. The risk of a late-term miscarriage or stillbirth is also higher. In miscarriage or stillbirth, the child dies while still in the mothers body.
The advantages and disadvantages of antibiotic treatment were analyzed in a systematic review. Researchers analyzed 21 studies involving nearly 8,000 pregnant women. The results show that can lower the risk of late-term miscarriages:
- 2% of women who didn’t take had a late-term miscarriage.
- 0.3% of women who took had a late-term miscarriage.
Antibiotics had no influence on the risk of premature births or on stopping a womans water from breaking sooner. About 2% of the women stopped treatment due to side effects. There is no that used to treat bacterial vaginosis have any long-term side effects or are harmful for the child.
Most study participants experienced no symptoms and their infection was detected during other routine pregnancy tests. If bacterial vaginosis starts causing symptoms during pregnancy, it is usually treated anyway.
Can Regular Antibiotics Cure Bv
In the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, antibiotic medicine is the prescribed treatment. Diarrhea caused by probiotics destroys the bacteria that cause the problem. Antibiotic treatment often causes symptoms to come back. The treatment of bacterial vaginosis doesnt seem to be working for all women.
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Vaginal Acetic And Lactic Acid
Treatment with acetic and lactic acid gels aims to keep the vaginal pH at less than 4.5, to encourage lactobacilli to grow, and to discourage anaerobic bacteria from growing. Some studies have suggested that long-term use of vaginal acidifiers of this type reduces recurrences of BV. However, other studies suggest that this treatment, whilst harmless, is not effective.
When Should I Get Treatment For Bacterial Vaginosis
The body is often very good at getting back its own balance. The disruption in the balance of vaginal germs that causes BV may correct naturally, with time. So, if you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, you may not need any treatment, particularly if you take some of the general healthy steps above?
You normally need treatment for BV if it is causing symptoms, or if the characteristic smell is noticeable to you. If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or about to have a gynaecological procedure then you may be advised to get treatment for BV.
PregnancyIf you are pregnant and you are found to have BV then you will usually be offered antibiotic treatment with oral metronidazole .
If you are trying to conceive and you think you may have BV, it is a good idea to try to eradicate the BV through natural methods or treatment prior to conceiving. If you have symptoms then you should discuss having antibiotic treatment with your doctor.
Termination of pregnancyIf you are found to have BV and are undergoing a termination of pregnancy, treatment with antibiotics may be advised even if you do not have any symptoms. This is because there is otherwise a risk of BV causing infection of the womb or pelvis after the procedure. This could lead to later fertility problems.
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How Are Antibiotics Used
Symptoms are usually treated with an antibiotic such as clindamycin or metronidazole as a cream, vaginal suppositories or tablets, or oral tablets. Treatment can last one to seven days depending on the exact drug used, its form and the dose, and the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor can help you decide what type of treatment is most suitable for you.
If you’ve been prescribed , it’s important to be careful about using them correctly. That especially means using the medicine regularly and for as long as prescribed: Stopping early, for instance if the symptoms have already cleared up, contributes to the development of resistant strains of .
Do Antibiotics Always Cure Bv
It is crucial for pregnant women to take oral antibiotics instead of capsules in order to cure the illness. A full course of metronidazole drugs is all that most people take to treat bacterial infections. The antibiotic methionazole is available under the name Metronidazole. BV can usually be cleared as a result of this.
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How Is Bacterial Vaginosis Treated
Antibiotics prescribed by your doctor are usually necessary to treat BV. These may be in the form of tablets or vaginal creams. BV tends to recur, so you may need to take more than one course of antibiotics. Always finish the course of treatment prescribed, even if you feel better halfway through.
Male sexual partners dont normally need to be treated for BV however, female sexual partners will need treatment.
Bacterial Vaginosis In Pregnancy
If you develop bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy, there’s a small chance of complications, such as premature birth or miscarriage.
But BV causes no problems in the majority of pregnancies.
Speak to a GP or your midwife if you’re pregnant and your vaginal discharge changes.
Page last reviewed: 22 November 2018 Next review due: 22 November 2021
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How Should You Take Probiotics For Bv
You might wonder how vaginal probiotics work and whether probiotics for the vagina are best taken orally or inserted intra-vaginally.
The answer is both methods show the same efficacy, so it depends on individual preference. Most women prefer the ease and convenience of an oral capsule. Research has shown that so long as the correct strains of bacteria are taken orally then the bacteria are easily able to survive transit through the intestines. They can then make the journey from rectum to vagina. This has been proven in clinical tests whereby the specific probiotics taken have been found in vaginal swabs shortly after they were ingested.
How Common Is Bacterial Vaginosis Is It An Std Or Yeast Infection
- Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition.
- It is the most common vaginal complaint in women of childbearing age.
- Studies have shown that approximately 29% of women in the U.S. are affected.
- Bacterial vaginosis is found in about 25% of pregnant women in the U.S. and approximately 60% of women who have an STD.
Is bacterial vaginosis an STD or yeast infection?
- Bacterial vaginosis is not the same thing as an STD or yeast infection.
- Bacterial vaginosis is not dangerous, but it can cause disturbing symptoms.
- Any woman with an unusual discharge should be evaluated so that more serious infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be excluded.
- Symptoms may also mimic those found in yeast infections of the vagina and trichomoniasis , and these conditions must also be excluded in women with vaginal symptoms.
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What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish using the vaginal clindamycin, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Which Treatments Are Effective For Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis can cause symptoms such as discharge with an unpleasant smell. The clindamycin and metronidazole are both effective treatments for bacterial vaginosis. There has not yet been enough research on the possible benefits of lactic acid treatments.
Bacterial vaginosis is quite common and caused by changes in the vaginal flora that allow the rapid growth of specific types of .
The infection can cause a thin, grayish-white discharge with an unpleasant smell, but it often goes undetected. If it does produce symptoms, can be used as an effective treatment, even during pregnancy. Treatment can help lower the slightly increased risk of miscarriage due to the infection, too.
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Can Oral Antibiotics Treat Bv
Bactericidal vaginosis is usually treated with antibiotics. In addition to being in place with antibiotic medications such as flagyl , clindamycin oral and vaginal suppositories such as ocin oral and vaginal suppositories, and metronidazole vaginal gel that are effective There are a number of medications that can be prescribed to treat Gardnerella infections, including metronidazole and clindamycin.
What Could Be Happening
Most yeast infections are caused by a type of fungus called Candida albicans. Other kinds of fungus can cause yeast infections, too, but antifungal treatments usually only target the most common one. If your infection is caused by something different, antifungals used to treat yeast infections may not be effective for you.
Or, while it may seem as though youâre getting new infections, you may not have gotten rid of the first one. Be sure to follow your treatment instructions carefully and finish all of your medicine.
Using antibiotics too often can lower the amount of good bacteria in your vagina. This can allow candida to grow and raise your chances of a yeast infection. The longer you use antibiotics, the more likely you are to get one.
Wearing wet or tight clothing, like sweaty gym clothes that you don’t change out of right away, or a damp bathing suit after a swim, creates a warm, damp place that yeast likes.
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Whats The Difference Between Bacterial Vaginosis And A Yeast Infection
Both bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections are vaginal infections that increase discharge. Heres how you can tell the difference:
- Discharge: The hallmark sign of BV is discharge with a fishy smell. Discharge from yeast infections doesnt usually have a strong smell but may look like cottage cheese.
- Vaginal irritation: Typically, BV doesnt cause vaginal irritation or itchiness. Yeast infections do.
- Over-the-counter treatment: You can treat yeast infections with over-the-counter medications. Youll need to see your healthcare provider to get antibiotics for BV.
Is Bacterial Vaginosis Contagious
Although bacterial vaginosis is not considered to be a contagious condition, the role of transmissibility of bacteria among individuals is not fully understood. Since having multiple or new sexual partners increases a woman’s risk of developing bacterial vaginosis, this suggests that spread of bacteria among individuals may alter the balance of bacteria in the vagina and potentially predispose to development of bacterial vaginosis. However, since bacterial vaginosis also occurs in celibate women, other causative factors must also play a role in its development.
It is not possible to contract bacterial vaginosis from toilet seats, swimming pools, or hot tubs, or from touching contaminated objects.
- new or multiple sexual partners , and
- a history of sexually-transmitted infections .
In addition to these questions, the doctor will perform a pelvic exam. During the exam, the doctor notes the appearance of the vaginal lining and cervix. The doctor will also perform a manual exam of the ovaries and uterus. The cervix is examined for tenderness, which might indicate a more serious infection. The doctor may collect samples to check for Chlamydia or gonorrhea infection.
During the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis, the doctor may perform a “whiff test” with potassium hydroxide liquid. When a drop of KOH testing liquid used in the “whiff test” contacts a drop of the discharge from a woman with bacterial vaginosis, a certain fishy odor can result.
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How Is Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of BV or have a history of multiple or a new sexual partner, then make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will ask you about any symptoms and take a history and then perform an examination. A swab may be taken of your vaginal fluid which will be tested in a laboratory. Other possible causes will be ruled out before they arrive at a diagnosis of BV.
Could Lactic Acid Bacteria Help
Lactic acid are believed to help restore healthy vaginal flora and suppress harmful bacteria, but treatments that use lactic acid bacteria are not as well tested as . There are hardly any studies testing them on their own they are usually used in combination with antibiotics. But no has been found that vaginosis clears up any better with this combination. Little is known about possible side effects.
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Lactobacilli Used For Treatment
Nine of the vaginal Lactobacillus strains isolated from healthy Swedish women and characterised in the present study were selected for the clinical trial. The lactobacilli were fermented, lyophilised, and dispensed as a mixture of three different strains in gelatin capsules according to GMP standard . Other strains from commercial products, currently used for treatment of BV, were also tested for comparison. These strains include L. gasseri and L. rhamnosus contained in the commercially available EcoVag® vaginal capsules . Both these Lactobacillus strains were initially isolated from healthy women in Norway. Capsules containing the EcoVag® strains plus another one, L. gasseri DSM 15527, also isolated from healthy women at the same time and characterised by Bifodan. The second probiotic preparation used was LaciBios® ). These Lactobacillus strains have been described in the studies by Reid and collaborators .
Can Bacterial Vaginosis Go Away On Its Own
Roughly 30% of bacterial vaginosis cases in nonpregnant women and 50% of cases in pregnant women clear up on their own. But if you have symptoms, treatment is recommended in all people. And even if your symptoms start clearing when you first start your bacterial vaginosis treatment, experts advise completing your full treatment regimen.
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What Is Bacterial Vaginosis Like
The main symptom of BV is a vaginal discharge. BV is the most common cause of vaginal discharge in women of childbearing age. Often, BV causes no symptoms. This is true in about half of the women who have the condition. This may be because the bacterial disturbance is only mild.
When BV causes symptoms, this is usually a change in vaginal discharge. Some women will also notice the characteristic smell.
- The discharge is often white-grey in colour and often has a fishy smell.
- The smell may be more noticeable during sex.
- The discharge tends to be heaviest just after a period, or after sex.
- The discharge does not usually cause itch or soreness around the vagina and vulva.
- STIs, such as chlamydia, may also cause vaginal discharge. See the separate leaflet called Chlamydia for more details.
What Are The Side Effects
Antibiotic treatment kills not only gardnerella , but also useful bacteria in the vaginal flora that work to keep other germs in check. This means that antibiotic treatment can sometimes end up causing a vaginal yeast infection . This happens to about 10% of women who use clindamycin or metronidazole. Itching and a thick, white discharge are typical signs of a yeast infection, and it can also be treated with medication.
Other side effects may also occur. Metronidazole tablets leave behind a metallic taste in about 10% of women. Less commonly, they cause nausea and vomiting. Clindamycin is very well tolerated when used as a cream, and aside from yeast infections it has no other known side effects.
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