Bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginal infection and inflammation. It is most prevalent in women who are in their reproductive years, but it can affect women of any age. It frequently develops after unprotected sexual intercourse with a new partner, and is extremely rare for a woman to have it if she has never had intercourse.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
When there’s an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora found in a woman’s vagina, bacterial vaginosis can occur. Bacterial vaginosis results from the overgrowth of one of several bacteria, where it cases the imbalance which leads to the condition.
A woman may have bacterial vaginosis without symptoms showing. If symptoms do occur, they include vaginal discharge, burning, and itching.
Vaginal discharge may be:
- Watery and thin
- Gray or white in colour
- Strong and unpleasantly smelling
Less commonly, there may be:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- An itching sensation around the outside of the vagina
Between 50 and 75 percent of women who have bacterial vaginosis don’t display symptoms. On its own, bacterial vaginosis is not considered harmful, but complications can arise.
Complications that have been linked to bacterial vaginosis include:
- Bacterial vaginosis increases susceptibility to HIV infection
- STIs, such as the herpes simplex virus, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Post-surgical infection, such as after a termination or a hysterectomy
Possible Complications During Pregnancy
- Preterm delivery
- Amniotic sac breaking too early
- Postpartum endometritis
Bacterial vaginosis often clears up without treatment, but women with signs and symptoms should seek treatment to avoid complications.
Treatment may not be needed if symptoms don’t present. If there is an abnormal vaginal discharge, it is important visit a doctor as soon as possible. Some doctors recommend giving bacterial vaginosis treatment to all women who will be undergoing a hysterectomy or termination, before the procedure, regardless of symptoms.
Make your health a priority by booking a women’s wellness check-up at your nearest women clinic today. Our Well Women appointments are quick female health check-ups available to all South African women at a reasonable price. These women’s health check-ups can be highly effective in early screenings that can be lifesaving. Contact us today!