What To Know About Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of vaginitis and will happen to most women at some point in their life. What is it? BV is an overgrowth of bacteria that exist naturally in the vagina. Usually an increase in the local pH of a normal vagina produces a perfect environment for these bacteria (typically Gardnerella vaginalis) to grow. This change usually happens when our good bacteria (lactobacilli) die. This death can happen from sex with new partners, eating differently, antibiotics, stress, decreased estrogen production, and improper cleaning.

What does it look like? A thin, gray, homogenous fluid that usually adheres to vaginal mucosa is typically what we see with BV. Sometimes it can be associated with a “fishy” smell, but not always.

How do we prevent it? Multiple studies have demonstrated that increasing our intake of good, protective bacteria (lactobacillus) can prevent recurrence. Another item to keep in mind is doing as little as possible to disrupt our normal flora, eg, no cleaning inside the vagina (no water, no feminine wash, nothing inside!!). We can clean outside the vagina, in between the labia and under the clitoral hood, but not inside. Keep in mind this infection is very common and easily treated.

Content Provided by Garden OB/GYN Physician Assistant, Carly Goga

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