Bacterial vaginosis or BV is an imbalance of the vaginal flora. This is one of the most common vaginal infections amongst women. There is a widespread belief that bacterial vaginosis is an STD, this is however not the case. BV also occurs in women who are not having sexual intercourse or who have been with the same partner for years. Also, bacterial vaginosis cannot transmitted between persons.
Bacterial vaginosis is an outgrowth of harmful bacteria. In a healthy vagina, these harmful bacteria are kept in check by the low vaginal pH that is created by lactic acid produced by the good lactobacilli flora. The vaginal pH can however increase (the acidity is reduced), for instance by reduction in the numbers of lactobacilli due to antibiotic treatment, or by neutralization of the low pH by alkaline sperm. In this situation, the harmful bacteria may take the opportunity to grow and cause vaginal complaints.
The most common symptoms of BV include changes in discharge (often discharge will be white or grey, foamy) changes in odour (usually strong fish-like), burning while urinating, itching and irritation in the vaginal area. Some of these symptoms resemble signs of thrush, so correct diagnosis is very important prior to starting the appropriate therapy.
There are, however, steps you can follow that help to prevent bacterial vaginosis.
Human body is designed to stay in balance. Our entire body is connected, creating a very complex mechanism based on precise and delicate principles of maintaining balance in order to function efficiently and stay healthy. This is the reason why the vagina is a host to the millions of bacteria, living peacefully in perfect balance, causing no trouble.
That is, until the ratio of good to bad bacteria is compromised. Once the good bacteria are reduced in count, the bad bacteria take over and start to grow abundantly. The overgrowth of bad bacteria leads to infections such as bacterial vaginosis that manifests in uncomfortable symptoms, i.e. discharge, fishy odor, burning, itch and irritation. In order to stop the infection, we would need to reverse the process – reduce the numbers of bad bacteria and stimulate the growth of the good ones.