Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by bacterial overgrowth. It typically happens when activities, like sexual intercourse, change the balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal condition in women between 15 to 44. Unfortunately, this condition can cause complications during sex and even childbirth. That's why it's important to know the symptoms so you can seek treatment quickly.
Dr. Staci McHale at New Beginnings OB-GYN has decades of experience. He, and our team, can help manage your bacterial vaginosis so your reproductive health doesn't suffer.
What causes bacterial vaginosis?
Douching, having unprotected sex, and pregnancy can contribute to a bacterial imbalance; which increases the risk of bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis can also increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and can even cause preterm births, infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
What are the signs?
While some women may not show symptoms, if you have bacterial vaginosis you may experience:
- Unusual vaginal discharges that look milky, gray, watery or foamy
- A strong odor that smells fishy, and often occurs after sex
- Burning urination
- Vaginal itching or irritation
Because these symptoms are similar to yeast infections and other conditions, it's important to visit a doctor to receive the right diagnosis. You should also avoid sexual contact until you're treated. This is especially true for female partners as they can pass the condition to each other.
How can it be prevented?
Since the issue is caused by bacterial imbalance, it’s important to keep everything as normal as possible.
Methods of keeping balance, include:
- Using warm water or mild soaps to clean your vagina
- Avoid douching
- Abstain from unprotected sex
On occasion, bacterial overgrowth may go away on its own. But these practices can help you avoid the condition altogether.
How is it treated?
After a pelvic exam, bacterial vaginosis is usually treated using antibiotics such as Flagyl®, Metrogel®, Cleocin®, Clindesse® or Tindamax®. Some are available as pills and others as gels and creams.
Keep in mind, some of these medications aren’t ideal for everyone. Before your appointment, create a list of medications you’re currently on and make sure your doctor knows your complete health history.
Bacterial vaginosis can happen even after treatment, so make sure you stay vigilant.
If you think you may have bacterial vaginosis, you need to consult your doctor to find the best way to manage symptoms. Make an appointment with Dr. McHale today.