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Sexual problems - Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis

What is Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal condition in women. It is caused by an excess growth of bacteria normally present in the vagina. The vagina normally contains many kinds of bacteria that keep the vagina healthy. When the acidity of the vagina changes, these bacteria can overgrow, thus causing bacterial vaginosis. The acidity of the vagina can be changed by menstruation (the woman's period), sexual intercourse, douching, antibiotics or the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases.

Who gets bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis usually affects women between 15-44 years of age. It may occasionally occur in younger girls and older women. It most often occurs in sexually active women.

How is bacterial vaginosis spread

Sexually active women have bacterial vaginosis more often than women who are not. It is unclear, however, if bacterial vaginosis is sexually transmitted. The infection has a tendency to occur again even when the partner has been treated.

What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

A vaginal discharge is a common symptom. There is often a foul or fishy odor, especially after having intercourse. Occasionally, there may be itching.

What complications can result from bacterial vaginosis

There is some concern that bacterial vaginosis may be involved in some cases of infections of the uterus (womb) especially after vaginal delivery. However, more research is needed to clarify these issues.

Does past infection make a person immune

No. Bacterial vaginosis can occur whether the woman is sexually active or not and whether the partner is treated or not

What is the treatment for bacterial vaginosis

Antibiotics given by mouth is the preferred treatment. A vaginal cream, different than the one given for yeast infections, is also available.

What should I do if I have symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

Avoid sexual intercourse and contact your doctor or an STD clinic. You should be examined so the right diagnosis can be made and treatment given.

What can be done to prevent the spread of STDs

  • Abstinence is the only sure way to avoid STDs.
  • The kinds of sex that do not include vaginal, anal or oral intercourse are also "safer sex" and less likely to spread STDs.
  • Try to limit your exposure to STDs. Unprotected sexual activity increases your chance of exposure and infection. If you have more than one partner or your partner has other sexual partners this increases your chances of getting an STD.
  • Use barrier protection, like a condom.
  • Look at your partner before having sex. If you see any sign of an infection such as rashes, sores, discharge or swelling, stop and talk about the importance of checking for an STD before having sex.
  • If you think you are infected, avoid any sexual contact and visit a local sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, hospital or your own doctor. If possible, bring your sex partner(s) with you so that they can be treated if necessary.
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