Bacterial Vaginosis Support Forum
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the name of a condition in women where the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. It is sometimes accompanied by discharge, odor, pain, itching, or burning.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. In the United States, as many as 16 percent of pregnant women have BV.
The causes of BV are multiple. BV is associated with an imbalance in the bacteria that are normally found in a woman's vagina. The vagina normally contains mostly "good" bacteria, and fewer "harmful" bacteria. BV develops when there is an increase in harmful bacteria.
Treatments with antibiotics are the most common cause.
Some activities or behaviors can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk including:
Having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners,
Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception.
It is not clear what role sexual activity plays in the development of BV. Women do not get BV from toilet seats, bedding, swimming pools, or from touching objects around them. Women that have never had sexual intercourse are rarely affected.
Women with BV may have an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor. Some women report a strong fish-like odor, especially after intercourse. Discharge, if present, is usually white or gray; it can be thin. Women with BV may also have burning during urination or itching around the outside of the vagina, or both. Some women with BV report no signs or symptoms at all.
In most cases, BV causes no complications. But there are some serious risks from BV including:
Having BV can increase a woman's susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the HIV virus.
Having BV increases the chances that an HIV-infected woman can pass HIV to her sex partner.
Having BV has been associated with an increase in the development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) following surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy or an abortion.
Having BV while pregnant may put a woman at increased risk for some complications of pregnancy.
BV can increase a woman's susceptibility to other STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Pregnant women with BV more often have babies who are born premature or with low birth weight (less than 5 pounds).
The bacteria that cause BV can sometimes infect the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). This type of infection is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause infertility or damage the fallopian tubes enough to increase the future risk of ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube which can rupture.
A health care provider must examine the vagina for signs of BV and perform laboratory tests on a sample of vaginal fluid to look for bacteria associated with BV.
Forum Link1: Books