Did you ever notice a strange smell from your intimate area? A strong, even fish-like odor that left you feeling a bit uncomfortable? This could be due to a bacterial imbalance also known as bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of bacteria in your vagina. Normally, the healthy lactobacilli are the dominating bacteria in the vagina, but if BV develops, other unwanted bacteria start to overgrow the lactobacilli.
The exact cause of this overgrowth is unknown, but there are some factors that might increase the risk such as being sexually active. However, it’s important to stress that BV can also occur in the absence of sexual activity. Therefore, bacterial vaginosis is not considered to be an STD.
The following symptoms might indicate bacterial vaginosis:
Less common symptoms are burning during urination and vaginal itching.
For most women, bacterial vaginosis is harmless, but it can be quite uncomfortable. Treatment is usually aimed at relieving the symptoms. The most common form of treatment for BV is antibiotics. These are either prescribed as a tablet you take orally or a product that you apply in your vagina. For most women this is an effective treatment, however it can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Drinking alcohol in combination with this antibiotic can increase the severity of the side effects.
Another common treatment is to use self-care products that you can get at the pharmacy or drug store. Most of these products work to restore the vaginal pH level. Always make sure that you use a natural product that treats bacterial vaginosis, as well as restoring your vaginal flora, helping to prevent future infections.
During pregnancy, bacterial vaginosis can in some cases increase the risk of complications such as premature birth or miscarriage. If you are pregnant and are having symptoms related to bacterial vaginosis, contact your doctor.