What is BV (Bacterial Vaginosis)?
When talking and learning about BV (Bacterial Vaginosis), we should first uncover what it is NOT: it is not a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STI).
BV, also known as Bacterial vaginosis or Vaginal bacteriosis, is the most prevalent (common) form of vaginal infection and is a series of symptoms that includes a vaginal discharge, most often with a noticeable “fishy” smell. It is a mild form of bacterial infection of the vagina and is caused by an imbalance of “bad” vaginal bacteria.
BV arises when there is an imbalance in the “bad” bacterial levels, most often because these bad bacteria overtake the “good” bacteria in the vaginal flora. The good bacteria are there to keep the pH levels in check, as well as cleanse the vagina from hazardous bacteria and waste. Typically when there are not enough good bacteria present, the bad bacteria can overrun the good and that is when problems occur.
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)?
Experts are not exactly certain as to why BV occurs in women, but there are a few things that can lead to higher outbreaks of the infection:
- Multiple sex partners
- Regular douching
Basically, there are conditions that get altered in the vaginal conditions where the bad bacteria thrive and overtake the amount of good bacteria. The bad bacteria end up rising to abnormally high levels, thus causing the symptoms. It is suggested that you can limit the occurrences by limiting the amount of sexual partners you have and by avoiding douching and smoking. However, BV is not something that is typically transferred or caught from another person.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosed?
The most common way that BV is diagnosed is through a pelvic exam. The vagina walls can be swabbed as to take a sample of the vaginal discharge and running a toxicology screening. This will allow tests to be done on the bacterial makeup to see how high the levels are for the “bad” bacteria. You can also ask your medical profession if you are wondering what is bv.
The symptomatic bacteria tend to have a higher pH level, making the discharge more alkaline (or basic) compared to a normally balanced pH level.
What are Some Problems that BV Can Cause?
Bacterial Vaginosis can cause complications and issues during a pregnancy. Also, since there is a presence of abnormal bacterial levels, you may be subject to other infections, especially during surgery, hysterectomies, or procedures.
You may also have an increased risk in developing HIV infection if you are having sexual relations with an HIV infected person.
How is BV Treated?
Many women choose to seek either medical attention or taking an Antibiotic treatment, while others choose to treat it all naturally at home with a series of steps including dietary change and changing hygiene and cleanliness habits.
Doctors usually will prescribe antibiotics in the form of capsules or creams.