What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis, or BV is, as the name suggests, a bacterial infection of the vagina.

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Who Can Get Bacterial Vaginosis?

The CDC has determined women between the ages of 15-44 account for the largest percentage of women who get BV. Because bacterial vaginosis can effect virgins and is not spreadable to men, BV is not technically classified as an STD.

Because BV does not affect men, males who have had a sexual partner with BV do not need to be treated for this infection, unless a visible irritation at the tip of the penis arises directly after intercourse, but this extremely rare. But, men who have sex with multiple partners without using condoms can spread BV from one untreated woman to another.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis:

  • Unpleasant fishy smell
  • Thin white, gray or yellow discharge after sex
  • Mild itching
  • Burning during urination
  • pH of vaginal fluid >4.5

What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?

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Unfortunately, even the Center for Disease control is uncertain as to the exact origins or cause of BV. They do list: having multiple sex partners, using unorthodox objects as sex toys, having unprotected sex, wearing thong underwear and douching as possible culprits though.

Basically, in order to get BV, the harmful bacteria in the vagina has to overrun the healthy bacteria that naturally exists in the vagina. This bacteria is known as vaginal flora, and it has a delicate balance. Anything that throws it off can allow the bad bacteria to overpopulate the area.

Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis

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BV is often self-diagnosed or misdiagnosed as being a yeast infection. However, yeast infections are not caused by bacteria, they are caused by fungus, and can be treated with over-the-counter medication. If you’re unsure about which one you may have, a doctor can take a swab sample and check it under the microscope for bacteria.

Doctors will also execute an acidity test with litmus paper to test for a BV. The normal pH range for a healthy vagina is between 3.8 and 4.2, so if yours is higher, this is a clear indication of BV. Antibiotic pills or creams are prescribed in this event. Additional treatment methods include taking probiotics and increasing your intake of vitamin E, calcium and folate.

Consequences of Bacterial Vaginosis

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Pregnant women with BV run the risk of having a premature delivery and babies with a low birth weight (under 5.5 pounds). Therefore, pregnant women who are exhibiting 2 or more of these symptoms should be tested and treated for BV right away.

The CDC also states that women with BV are much more likely to contract other STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. BV can also lead to a serious disease called PID, which can lead to infertility and other serious pregnancy issues.

Like most abnormal genital conditions, it is absolutely imperative to use condoms, like Durex Extra Sensitive, and dental dams, like Lixx, to avoid getting or giving BV. In fact, BV is the most commonly spread vaginal issue in the lesbian community, because it is so easily transferred when unprotected sex occurs between two female partners.

If this applies to you, be sure to learn how to correctly use a dental dam and consistently use them during any activity when fluids are exchanged. Similarly, if sharing an adult toy, like the Vivid Dream Stefani, use a new condom for each partner to keep from spreading bacteria back and forth.

Source [CDC, Wikipedia, NYC Health]

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