Bacterial Vaginosis

>> Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bookmark and Share
Did you know that having bacterial vaginosis can increase your risk for STD's, HIV and pregnancy complications like preterm labor?

Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation that results from the OVERGROWTH of one of several types of bacteria normally present in the vagina, upsetting the natural balance of vaginal bacteria. Lactobacilli is the predominant bacteria that colonizes the vagina. It is also the predominant bacteria in yogurt culture. That is where all the yogurt remedies come from. Some of us have been told if we eat more yogurt it will heal the vagina. But, while yogurt is a form of pro-biotic, and eating it will certainly heal your GI tract and colon, our GI tract is not connected to our vagina.

Women in their reproductive years are most commonly affected by bacterial vaginosis, but any woman can experience the condition. We don't know exactly why bacterial vaginosis develops, but certain activities, such as unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple partners or frequent douching, put you at higher risk of the condition.

Anything that creates an imbalance or flips the growth of the vaginal flora (causing the non-dominant bacteria to become dominant and over grow), will reduce the lactobacilli. Then we begin to notice the "fishy" or "musty" odors and increased discharge that won't go away despite repeated showers and cleaning of the area.

You know from my previous postings that douching is one of the worst practices we can be taught and pass on to young women. Why? The vagina is designed to self-clean and has a delicate balance and it must maintain a lower, slightly acidic pH. If this balance becomes disrupted and the pH rises to a neutral or alkaline pH, the lactobacilli die off and the other bacteria and yeast begin to overgrow. That's when we start noticing odor and irritation. If we continue to douche thinking this will help, it will just keep this cycle going and going.

Generally, it's not necessary to treat a woman's male sexual partner, but bacterial vaginosis can spread between female sexual partners. Female partners should seek testing and, if indicated, treatment of bacterial vaginosis.

I know some of you struggle with recurring vaginal odor, external irritation and daily discharge. Just when you have finished taking a prescribed treatment, and have been odor- and irritation-free for a few days, you notice it start to creep back…and the whole cycle starts over again. Let me reassure you that this is not because you have poor hygiene or are not clean enough. In fact, some of you try too hard and actually over-clean, which can upset the way your vagina heals and self-cleans -- actually making it worse

Some of the most common causes of vaginal odor are:

  • The alkaline semen from sex
  • Period blood
  • Infections like Trichamonas, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Poor hygiene and retained or forgotten tampons
Less common causes of vaginal odor are:
  • Cervical, vaginal or other female cancers
  • A recto-vaginal fistula - a defect that forms between the rectum and vagina that can allow liquid feces or urine to drain through the vagina. These tunnel-like communications usually do not form spontaneously but may show up after surgery like a hysterectomy or vaginal repair, or vaginal childbirth that resulted in an episiotomy or vaginal tear.
  • A condition known as Crone's disease of the colon
So hang in there. Sometimes not douching and treating back-to-back with the correct medication will help you rebalance and keep you free of infection for longer periods of time.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP