Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that affects many women all over the world. It occurs when the number of good bacteria (lactobacilli) decreases and bad bacteria start to multiply actively. Even though bacterial vaginosis is common, many women often confuse it with other conditions and try to treat it on their own. To avoid misunderstanding and possible complications, it is essential to know exactly what bacterial vaginosis is. In this article, we have gathered five facts about bacterial vaginosis you should know about.1. Bacterial vaginosis is not an STI
As mentioned above, bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina. It is not sexually transmitted. The point is, bacterial vaginosis is definitely a vaginal infection, so men can't get it. However, sex can be a risk factor since during intercourse, semen or even condom lubrication can change the pH of the vagina. This way, you can get bacterial vaginosis after sex, but you don't get it from your partner. Other risk factors include stress, illness, a course of antibiotics, or another infection in your body that can alter the natural flora of your vagina.2. Fishy smell is a sign of bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis can develop asymptomatically in some women while others can experience unpleasant symptoms. The most common of them include abnormal vaginal discharge with a strong fishy odor, vaginal itching, irritation, pain during sex, and burning sensations during urination. Unfortunately, many women confuse bacterial vaginosis with a yeast infection that also causes abnormal discharge and vaginal itching. So if you have noticed that your discharge has a fishy smell, you need to visit a gynecologist to treat bacterial vaginosis.3. Bacterial vaginosis can cause pelvic inflammatory disease
It is important to understand that without timely and proper treatment, bacterial vaginosis can lead to severe complications. For example, bacterial vaginosis is linked with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is a serious condition in which pelvic organs become infected and inflamed. Symptoms of PID include fever, chronic pelvic pain, abnormal discharge with an unpleasant smell, pain during sex, and vaginal bleeding between periods. Additionally, PID can lead to the development of scars and adhesions on your pelvic organs that can interfere with getting pregnant.4. Douching can increase your risk of bacterial vaginosis
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the development of bacterial vaginosis. Douching, having multiple sexual partners, and a natural lack of lactobacilli are deemed the most common of them. Women who douche can disrupt the natural Ph of the vagina and remove the necessary good bacteria. The main problem is that women with bacterial vaginosis can continue to douche since they think that douching can help treat this condition. But the reality is that only a doctor can prescribe proper treatment.5. Bacterial vaginosis can be easily treated with antibiotics
If you have noticed any symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, it is better to visit a gynecologist instead of self-treatment. The point is that various home remedies and wrong treatment can aggravate your condition. A gynecologist will perform testing to be sure that you have bacterial vaginosis and prescribe antibiotics for treatment. The most common treatment options for bacterial vaginosis include oral antibiotics and vaginal gel with metronidazole.The bottom line
It is important to understand that many vaginal infections and conditions can have similar symptoms. So if you suspect that you may have bacterial vaginosis, you need to visit a gynecologist. Only a doctor can properly diagnose you and recommend an effective treatment plan. Timely and proper treatment can help improve your condition and prevent the development of many serious complications.