Bacterial Vaginosis in Athens, Georgia

Athens, GA Bacterial Vaginosis

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common irritation of the vagina caused by bacteria.

How does it occur?

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of a type of bacteria in the vagina called Gardnerella. It is normal to have bacteria in the vagina, but sometimes there are too many of certain kinds of bacteria and when this occurs a patient can be at risk for bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, but most cases of bacterial vaginosis happen in sexually active women. Women who have more than one sexual partner have a greater risk of this problem. However, women who are not sexually active can also have BV.

Douching may cause an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina and lead to BV.

What are the symptoms?

Many women don’t have any symptoms. When women do have symptoms, the most common symptom is vaginal discharge. The discharge may be gray or yellowish and be foul smelling. For example, it may smell fishy, especially after sex. You may also have itching around the opening of the vagina.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will give you a pelvic exam and get a sample of vaginal discharge for lab tests.

How is it treated?

Bacterial vaginosis is treated with an antibiotic. The medicine may be a cream put into the vagina, or it may be taken as pills orally.

How long will the effects last?

Untreated bacterial vaginosis sometimes goes away on its own, but it should be treated to avoid complications. The symptoms usually go away within a few days after you start treatment.

Complications from BV could occur, such as soreness and burning in the vagina that do not go away.

How can I take care of myself?

Come see a healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse or last longer than 1 week.
  • You start having an itch or a thick white discharge while using the antibiotic to treat BV. This could be a yeast infection.
  • You have other questions or concerns about additionally having a sexually transmitted diseases.

How can I help prevent bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is not completely understood by scientists, but to lessen the risk of an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina:

  • Try to limit your number of sexual partners, while bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, an increased number of partners can alter the bacterial composition of the vagina.
  • Do not douche as this will increase the risk of having bacterial overgrowth of the vagina.

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