Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women mostly in reproductive age. It is a mild infection of the vagina caused by bacterial unbalance and may increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Bacterial vaginosis is the frequent cause of an abnormal vaginal discharge or a “smelly” vaginal odor.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis:
Normally, many bacteria exist in the vagina. One type, called lactobacilli, known as the good bacterial, maintains the normal acidity of the vagina, thus controlling the growth of certain bacteria that cause infections. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the number of good lactobacilli decreases and the number of other bad bacteria increases, upsetting the natural balance. Experts have found that bacterial vaginosis is more common to women who have or do the followings:
- · Having a sexually transmitted disease.
- · Having several sex partners or a new one.
- · Doutching.
- · Smoking.
- · Naturally lacking of lactobacilli.
- · Having a copper coil for contraception.
- · Family has Afro-Caribbean origins.
- · Using bubble bath or strong cleaning gel for vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis also develop in women having sex with women frequently, especially when they have several sex partners.
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis:
The most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a smelly vaginal discharge. The discharge may have the grey white or yellow color. Usually, it has an unpleasant odor, which is often described as a “fishy” smell. After having sex and during menstrual periods, the odor may become stronger. Itching is very common too. Burning during urination is reported in some cases. And actually, about half of women who have bacterial vaginosis do not notice any signs or symptoms.
Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis:
Despite the fact that bacterial vaginosis can go away without treatment, a proper BV treatmentis advised to all women who have bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms to avoid complications and recurrence. Also, it is very important for pregnant women with even mild symptoms to be tested and treated to help reduce the risk of premature births or low weight babies.
An antibiotic treatment is usually prescribed by doctors as an effective way to treat bacterial vaginosis. The most common antibiotic for bacterial vaginosis is Metronidazole. It is available in tablet form or gel form.
In tablet form, the medicine will be taken orally with the usual dosage is 400-500 mg twice a day for 5-7 days. This is considered to be the most effective treatment since the bacterial vaginosis rarely returns. Do not drink alcohol during using metronidazole and for at least 48 hours after completing treatment because it can upset your stomach and cause vomiting. If you are taking metronidazole tablets, it is important to finish the 7-day course even if the symptoms seems to be get better.
In gel form, the medicine will be applied in your vagina once a day for five days. Same as the tablet form, you should avoid drinking alcohol while using metronidazole gel and for at least 48 hours after finishing treatment. Also, metronidazole gel can cause weakening of condoms, caps and diaphragms, thus, women during treatment should use addition contraception protect herself from pregnancy and STIs.
Clindamycin is an alternative antibiotic treatment, often used in case metronidazole did not work or the bacterial vaginosis returned. Most women use clindamycin as a cream to place in the vagina daily for at least seven days. Not using condoms during and for at least three days after you stop using the cream is necessary because it might affect the contraceptive results. Clindamycin is also available in tablet form for women to take orally. However, it is not recommended nowadays due to the risk of developing pseudomembranous colitis while using it.
Tinidazole is another antibiotic which is sometimes used to treat bacterial vaginosis. Tinidazole will be taken by mouth as a single dose of four tablets taken at the same time. Alcohol must be avoided when taking this treatment. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, consult your doctor before using tinidazole as it may cause side effects.
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