The vagina is made up of a type of certain bacteria called Lactobacillus (good bacteria) and few other bacteria called anaerobes (bad bacteria). A disruption to this balance causes BV with more anaerobes than the Lactobacillus bacteria.
BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but can increase your risk of getting one and cannot be passed on to male sexual partners but can be passed between female sexual partners.
BV is not a yeast infection, it is bacterial. Yeast infection is associated with thick, white discharge, itching but no odor and they are fungal infection.
WHO IS AT RISK?
- A sexually active woman
- A smoker
- Intrauterine (IUD) device
- Fishy smell usually after sex or during menstruation.
- Thin greyish-white color discharge with odor.
- Burning sensation after urination.
After diagnosis by your doctor or your pharmacist, antibiotics can be prescribed to treat BV. You should begin to see results within days of commencing on the prescribed antibiotics.
- For sex toys users, ensure that you clean toys before and after use.
- Do not use douches, vagina deodorants or other vagina cleansing products.
- If you suspect BV, speak to your doctor and ensure that you and your partner get tested for STI.
- Mild soap and water can be used to vagina.
- Ensure you wipe from front to back after use; wiping away from the vagina to the rectal area.
- Use a condom if you have BV or abstain until you complete treatment. This is to allow the vagina pH return back to normal. Limit sexual partners to prevent further spread.
- Some homely remedies have also been reported to be useful in BV. The use of garlic, yogurt, probiotic supplements, and tea tree oil have been documented to be effective in preventing and treating BV. But the take away is to speak to a doctor for effective treatment if these measures are not effective.
- Wear lose and breathable cotton underwear.
- If pregnant and experience unusual white discharge, seek medical advice.
BV when left untreated can cause complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, and increasing the risks of getting an STI. It is advisable to speak to your doctor at the earliest signs of symptoms and complete course of treatment recommended.
GEORGE ORISILE is a Clinical Pharmacist
DISCLAIMER: Health tips provided by Pharmahealthtalk are not replacement for any care plans already agreed with your doctor or other health care professionals.