10 Things You Really Wanted To Know About Bacterial Vaginosis
1. BV is often foul smelling
Most women describe this smell as fishy. Some women feel there’s a bubble of foul smell that surrounds them. Some men can smell this during intercourse and some men might find it offensive to tell you about it.
2. It makes your vagina feel like its constantly wet and sticky.
There’s an increased amount of discharge to be expected when you have bacterial vaginosis. You might feel you need to rely on panty liners during infection
3. BV is not only caused by 1 bacteria. In fact it is caused by a collection of different bacterias
In clinic we commonly only test for one of the bacteria that causes Bacterial Vaginosis. That bacteria is called Gardnerella. If the test for Gardnerella comes back negative and your doctor still suspects that you might have BV then it’s best to go ahead and treat it with antibiotics nonetheless.
4. Treating BV with antibiotics DOES NOT mean that the BV will never return again. BV tends to be recurrent
So it is important that the vaginal environment is modified such that the growth of BV is made more difficult. The more acidic the vagina is the less likely it is for Bacterial Vaginosis to recur. Speak to your doctor about methods to acidify the vagina. I have a favourite acidic gel I like to prescribe to women to use as a means of maintenance to prevent further bacterial vaginosis flare ups.
5. BV tends to flare before and after the menstrual flow or after sexual intercourse
The reason why this happens is because menstrual blood is alkaline and so is semen. So when the alkaline blood and semen enters the vaginal canal, it throws off the acidity of the vagina making it more vulnerable to Bacterial Vaginosis.
6. BV is not an STD (sexually transmitted disease)
BV is not exclusively an STD. It can even occur in women who are not sexually active. It is however more common in women who are.
7. It is safe to wear panty liners while you are having a BV infection
Honestly how else are you going to stop the increased discharge from soiling your underwear. The key thing here is to select a non-scented liner and change your liner regularly for eg every 2-3 hours.
8. BV flare up is treated with antibiotics namely Metronidazole, Clindamycin or Tinidazole.
If Antibiotics use tends to stir up a vaginal yeast infection in you, pls ask your doctor about ways to prevent this since you can preempt a potential flare of a vaginal yeast infection from having taken the antibiotics. The last thing you want after a BV infection is a yeast
9. It is possible for your partner to contract BV from you after unprotected sexual intercourse
Yes it is. I f your male partner develops penile itchiness and discomfort pls get him to see a doctor.
10. BV is not immediately harmful to life and does not kill you. It can increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnancy. But One thing for sure is that, Bacterial Vaginosis is very troublesome, uncomfortable and annoying.
More important that treating a single flare up is to discuss strategies to prevent future flare ups with your doctors. In my clinic, discuss prevention is every single female patient with BV. Immediate treatment for that episode of BV flare is easy but prevention is harder.