Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance. It is most commonly found in sexually active women between the ages 15- 44 years.
Lesbians who seek care at STD clinics have been found to have approximately twice the rate of bacterial vaginosis compared to heterosexual women attending the same clinics.
The exact causes of BV have not yet been discovered. However, it has been found to be prevalent among sexually active women. Also cases of BV have been higher for women with multiple sexual partners.
However, some women who’ve never had sex have also shown the prevalence of BV, although this number is marginal.
Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include:
· Thin, gray, white or green vaginal discharge
· Foul-smelling "fishy" vaginal odor
· Vaginal itching
· Burning during urination
Many women with BV however, show no symptoms
What complications can result from BV?
1. It increases the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV
2. It increases risk of acquiring and transmitting other STIs like Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes
3. BV can cause a pregnant woman to give a premature birth and can also lead to low birth weight of the baby
4. Rarely, BV can also cause Pelvic Inflammatory syndrome which can make it impossible for a woman to get pregnant
1. Physical examination of the pelvic area by the doctor
2. Examination of vaginal fluids in the laboratory
Since the cause of BV are not clear,
there is no sure way of preventing it. However, according to Centre for Disease
Control and Prevention, the following may reduce the risk of getting the
· Not having sex;
· Limiting your number of sex partners; and
· Not douching
BV will sometimes go away without
treatment. But if you have symptoms of BV you should be checked and treated. It
is important that you take all of the medicine prescribed to you, even if your
symptoms go away. A health care provider can treat BV with antibiotics, but BV
may return even after treatment. Treatment may also reduce the risk for some
Male sex partners of women diagnosed with BV generally do not need to be treated. BV may be transferred between female sex partners.