Bacterial Vaginitis

What is Bacterial Vaginitis?

Also known as gardnerella, bacterial vaginitis, or “B.V.,” is an infection caused by rod-shaped bacteria. These bacteria normally live in the vagina in small numbers, but can increase and cause symptoms if the normal balance of the vagina is upset. It is not a sexually transmitted disease, although it may be more likely to occur after intercourse. It can also occur in women who have never had sex.

How Does It Affect My Body?

The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can vary. But the most frequent one is increased vaginal discharge with a strong smell. This discharge is usually thin and may be white, yellow, gray or frothy in appearance. It may also cause some itching or burning.

How Do You Test for B.V.?

To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, a sample of the vaginal discharge is examined under the microscope to identify the bacteria.

What is the Treatment?

Bacterial vaginosis can be treated several ways. Treatment varies from a vaginal cream to oral antibiotics. It is very important to finish all of the medication so the infection does not recur. Male partners do not need to be treated.

Ways to Prevent Vaginal Infections

  • Do not use bubble bath, vaginal deodorant or scented pads or tampons, or douches (unless recommended by an examiner). These upset the normal vaginal environment.
  • Good genital hygiene (bathing, changing underwear daily, wiping from front to back). Avoid scented or deodorant soaps in the genital area. Avoid soap altogether or use a clear glycerine soap.
  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight clothing to allow air circulation. If you must wear panty hose wear them for the shortest possible time.
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