May 20, 2009

Causes & Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginal Infection

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Vaginal bacterial infection is also medically known as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). This condition is said to affect one in three women all over the world and is not considered a sexually transmitted disease mostly because it can only affect women, though female same-sex relationships are understood to be a causative factor in transmission. The condition causes a lot of discomfort and women who are very sexually active are at an increased risk from it.

Vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in the natural occurrence of bacterial populations in the vagina. The vagina, in its normal state, contains populations of lactobacillus bacteria. These produce hydrogen peroxide which tend to inhibit the growth of other types of more harmful bacteria especially varieties such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Mobiluncus, Mycoplasma and Bacteroides. Some of these are responsible for diseases like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or (PIV). Sufferers of vaginosis usually tend to suffer symptoms like a vaginal discharge with a fishy odor, a gray discharge, itching, swelling and irritation. Due to its similarity in symptomatic nature with other vaginal afflictions like yeast infections and Trichmonas vaginalis, lab tests have to be conducted to confirm the presence of vaginosis. The standard test set includes the whiff test where a swab sample from deep in the vagina is taken and with the addition of potassium hydroxide, a fishy smell should emanate. PH tests are then conducted to measure the acidity of the vagina. Finally, the last test involves placing a swab of vaginal discharge under a sodium chloride solution and checked under a microscope for epithelial cells coated with bacteria. All or even two of these tests being positive confirm vaginosis.

The causes of vaginosis, since it is not a sexually transmitted disease stem from the introduction of bacteria into vagina from an external source. Sharing a surface that has been touched by an infected carrier, sexual relations with a carrier, improper cleaning of the anal region that brings fecal matter near the vagina, and sometimes even certain types of clothing like thongs can cause vaginosis. The treatment for vaginosis requires the administering of antibiotics like metronidazole and clindamycin for a period of about three weeks. In this period having sexual relations and any kind of sexual activity should be avoided. Other treatments include increasing the acid levels in the vagina, eliminating bacteria using substances like tea tree oil and infusing lactobacilli to increase existing populations are used.