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Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis You Should Never Ignore

Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis You Should Never Ignore

BV is usually caused by abnormal bacterial growth in the vagina and causes a number of symptoms.

The vagina naturally contains different kinds of bacteria and they're usually in a balance but when there is an overgrowth it can result in a condition called bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV happens certain kinds types of bacteria are present in greater amounts than normal. The "bad" bacteria can grow so much that they can be present in levels that are 100 to 1,000 times more than usual. Those who are sexually active may have a higher risk of experiencing the condition. 

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It's best to get treated as soon as possible as BV can increase a person's susceptibility to other STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Multiple sexual partners and douching may increase the risk of acquiring bacterial vaginosis. If you’re pregnant, it can also increase your risk of early delivery. There's also an association between BV and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. PID can affect fertility and increase the risk for premature delivery if you’re pregnant. The tricky part is that sometimes BV doesn't show any symptoms but when it does it can include a number of them, reports Healthline. Let's look at some of them.

1. Burning Sensation While Urinating

Discomfort when urinating could be a sign of BV. Sometimes this might be accompanied by itching around the outside of the vagina. 

2. Fishy-Smelling Discharge

Someone who is suffering from Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) may also find the vaginal discharge quite smelly — a pungent odor that smells like rotten fish. The fish-like odor is noticeable sometimes, especially after intercourse.

3. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

If you notice a thick vaginal discharge which is often off-white, grey, or greenish in color, it could be a sign of BV.

4. Itching Or Pain In The Vulva

If you've started noticing that your vagina feels constantly itchy and sore, you should immediately visit a doctor and get yourself checked for Bacterial Vaginosis.

Diagnosis

A healthcare provider will first check for signs through a physical exam. It is likely that they might also take a vaginal fluid sample to test for the presence of certain bacteria. This can also help rule out other infections.

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Treatment

Sometimes BV can go away on its own but sometimes it needs medical intervention. Healthline reports that prescription antibiotics that are available in pill and gel form may be recommended by a doctor. Make sure you use the full course as directed by your healthcare provider, even if your symptoms seem to clear up quickly. Finishing the entire course of medication is the best way to clear the infection and decrease your risk for recurrence. Do not stop your medication halfway through the recommended course.

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Prevention

The best thing you can do is practice safe sex using condoms and dental dams, during sexual activity. Do not do anything that will mess up your vagina's natural pH. Douching or using scented products on your vulva or in your vagina can affect vaginal pH, which in turn affects the bacteria there. This might make you more vulnerable to BV.

Representational Image Source: Getty Images/Kamonwan Wankaew / EyeEm