The Importance of Early Detection and Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

Vagina has multiple bacteria, also known as the microbiome. These bacteria are responsible for keeping the vagina safe from harmful bacteria. However, some conditions disrupt the equilibrium of good and bad bacteria. Hence, giving rise to a condition called bacterial vaginosis.

As the name specifies, BV develops when a specific kind of bacteria, primarily harmful, becomes too much. Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal condition among women, and studies reveal that about 35% of women experience this condition. However, most patients belong to the age group of 14 to 55. [1]

An Overview of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis results due to bacterial overgrowth in the vagina. Commonly the bacteria associated with triggering the condition is called Gardnerella [2]. However, it is essential to note that anything that imbalances the pH value of the vagina leads to BV.

 Importance of Early Detection and Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

Most women in their productive years are more prone to experience the condition [3]. Although the exact origin of the disease remains a mystery, most evaluations confirm that sexual activeness is a significant cause.

Moreover, it is essential to note that bacterial vaginosis is not an STI but increases the risk of catching other STIs like chlamydia. Sexually inactive people don’t develop the condition. Also, BV is non-contiguous; you cannot get the infection from toilet seats, swimming pools, and bedding. [4]

Symptoms of BV

Early treatment of BV is crucial because it leads to other health-threatening conditions. Before moving on to the possible complications of BV, here is a quick summary of the symptoms [5].

  • Excessive and strong-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Pain or itching inside and outside the vagina
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Fish-like smell, especially after sex

 Importance of Early Detection and Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

Why Is It Important to Detect and Cure Bacterial Vaginosis Early?

You must contact a health specialist if you experience any of the above-listed symptoms. Bacterial vaginosis treatment is necessary If left untreated,  can lead to the following conditions:

1. Premature Birth

One of the common complications of untreated bacterial vaginosis is premature birth. The babies are born before 37 weeks, resulting in severe disabilities or even death. Moreover, low baby weights are also a common birth complication. [6]

2. Vulnerability To STIs

Bacterial vaginosis is not an STI itself. However, it increases the vulnerability to other sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, etc. Moreover, HIV patients with BV are likely to pass the infection to their partners. [7]

3. Increased Risk of Post-Surgery Infection

It sometimes also increases the likeliness of developing infections after surgical treatments of female organs like dilation or hysterectomy and curettage. [8]

4. Risk of PID

Pelvic inflammatory diseases are a common outcome of BV. PID causes an infection in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus, which leads to infertility. [9]

Common Factors Which Result in Bacterial Vaginosis

The fundamental cause of the condition remains uncertain. However, the below-mentioned factors are primarily associated with people with bacterial vaginosis.

  • Experts have observed that BV occurs more frequently in females with multiple sex companions or having unprotected sex with a new person. [10]
  • Insufficient production of lactobacilli also increases the possibility of developing the condition. [11]
  • Frequently rinsing your vagina with scented soaps may also lead to bacterial vaginosis. The vagina has self-cleaning so that external cleaning may trigger bacterial infections. [12]

 Importance of Early Detection and Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis Treatments

Mainly antibiotics are prescribed to cure bacterial vaginosis. Your specialist may prescribe your medicines like Tinidazole, metronidazole, and Clindamycin. It may be a tablet, cream, or gel. The treatment takes almost 5 to 7 days [13].

1. Metronidazole

Metronidazole is one of the most common treatments for BV. There are both tablets and gel available. However, you must adhere to your doctor’s prescription.

CDC recommends taking a 500mg pill orally twice a day. However, in the case of gel, you must insert 5g of gel daily in the vagina for five days to cure the infection. Some side effects of this medication include headache, mouth and tongue irritation, diarrhea, etc. [14]

2. Clindamycin

Another popular antibiotic prescribed to BV patients is Clindamycin which is available in three forms: pill, gel, and ovule suppository. Experts recommend that patients take a 300 mg pill daily for seven days.

While for gel or cream, you must insert one applicatorful into the vagina before bedtime for seven days. If you use ovule suppositories, you must insert 100mg before sleeping for three days. [15]

3. Secnidazole

This medication is relatively easier to use as it comes in consumable granules. The recommended proportion for the medicine is 2g (one dose).

However, you can also mix the granules with plain yogurt or applesauce if you want. Secnidazole is prominently expensive from other bacterial vaginosis medications but is a good solution if you want an instant cure [16].

4. Tinidazole

Sometimes the side effects from Clindamycin or metronidazole may be severe; in that case, your healthcare provider may prescribe you Tinidazole. The most common recommendations for this medication are 2g pills for two consecutive days or 1g for five days in a row (consumed orally). [17]

Preventions For BV Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis is perfectly curable. However, since it can lead to other serious health concerns, it is better to ensure some preventive measures. [18]

  • Cover your sex toys with condoms and wash them before every use to limit the chances of developing BV decrease.
  • Getting tested for STIs helps to detect the infection leading to an on-time treatment timely.
  • Limiting your sex partners and using condoms during sexual intercourse can reduce the possibility of developing the condition.
  • Avoid using unnecessary scents and cleaning agents on your genital organs that cause BV.
  • Wiping from front to back helps prevent unnecessary bacteria transmission reducing the possibility of BV. [19]

Conclusion

Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that develops due to bacterial overgrowth in the vagina. The state is considerably common in women and is easily curable through antibiotics. However, its timely diagnosis bacterial vaginosis and treatment are necessary because it also leads to other serious health concerns.

The symptoms of the infection wear off before the treatment period is complete. However, you should only stop the treatment once the doctor recommends it because the condition may reoccur.

FAQS

1. How is bacterial vaginosis caused?

To put it simply, the origin of the infection is still uncertain. However, some factors which may lead to the condition include sexual activeness and multiple sex partners.

2. How long does it take for the treatment to work?

Commonly BV treatments last for three to seven days. However, sometimes the condition can self-resolve as well [20].

3. How do you recognize bacterial vaginosis?

Some common indicators of BV are smelly vaginal discharge and pained urination. Itching is also a symptom, but it is relatively uncommon. [21]

4. Does bacterial vaginosis affect the menstrual cycle?

It is unlikely that BV will affect your menstrual cycle. Sometimes the vaginal discharge attains a dark color which may look like you are having your period, but it is only a symptom of the infection.

5. Can BV pass on to babies?

In most cases, the infection is detected and cured timely. Untreated BV doesn’t pass on to the baby but results in premature birth. [22]

 References

[1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/3963-bacterial-vaginosis#:~:text=How%20common%20is%20bacterial%20vaginosis,a%20vagina%20will%20get%20BV.

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459350/

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352279

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm#:~:text=BV%20is%20a%20result%20of,your%20risk%20for%20getting%20BV

[5] https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/vaginitis/what-bacterial-vaginosis

[6]https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2000/0801/p652.html#:~:text=Considerable%20

evidence%20suggests%20that%20infections,in%20women%20with%20bacterial%20vaginosis

[7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352279

[8]http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbbv.htm#:~:text=Having%20BV%20has%20been%2

0associated,pregnancy%2C%20such%20as%20preterm%20delivery

[9]https://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/fulltext/2013/02000/does_bacterial_vaginosis_cause_

pelvic_inflammatory.8.aspx#:~:text=Studies%20have%20found%20a%20link,disease%20has%

20not%20been%20established.

[10] https://www.uptodate.com/contents/bacterial-vaginosis-beyond-the-basics/print

[11]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5835753/#:~:text=Previous

%20studies%20have%20found%20that,%2C%20premature%20delivery%20(3)

[12] https://www.webmd.com/women/news/20021008/douching-linked-to-vaginal-infections

[13] https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/bv.htm

[14] https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-forbacterial-vaginosis#fa-qs-about-bv

[15] https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/clindamycin-vaginal-route/proper-use/drg-20063118

[16] https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-019-0822-2

[17] https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2009/0115/p102.html

[18] https://patient.info/sexual-health/vaginal-discharge-female-discharge/treating-and-preventing-bacterial-vaginosis

[19] https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/bacterial-vaginosis

[20] https://ro.co/health-guide/how-long-does-bacterial-vaginosis-last/#:~:text=Once%20you%20start%20treatment%20with,and%20it%20can%20come%20back

[21] https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/6-contributors-to-bacterial-vaginosis#:~:text=With%20bacterial%20vaginosis%2C%20bacteria

%20growth,However%2C%20itching%20is%20uncommon

[22] https://www.birthinjuryhelpcenter.org/bacterial-vaginosis.html#:~:text=It’s%20estimated%20that%201%20million,premature%20birth%20and%20low%20birthweight

 

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