Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused by an imbalance in the vaginal fauna which allows bad bacteria to proliferate. Depending on the severity of the infection and the bacteria behind the infection, a woman may experience an assortment of symptoms, or she may be totally asymptomatic. Often, the condition runs its course without intervention, but medical treatment is recommended if the condition persists, as this condition can have serious complications.
This condition is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, and sometimes there is no apparent cause. Certain sexual activities do seem to put women at greater risk of bacterial vaginosis, but it can also be linked with douching, and sometimes radical dietary changes as well. It has also been connected with poor hygiene and tight clothing in the groin area, and pregnant women are more likely to get this condition. BV is the most common type of vaginal infection.
A typical case of bacterial vaginosis makes itself known in the form of a thick, unpleasant smelling discharge, along with itching, burning, and pain. Because these symptoms can also be linked with yeast infections, it's a good idea to go to a doctor to get a formal diagnosis of BV, to ensure that you take the right approach to treatment. Even if you have had this condition before, you should still see a doctor to confirm.
If the condition does not clear up on its own, antibiotics can be prescribed to kill the bacteria. Some women also find that taking acidophilus supplements or eating yogurt with live active cultures can help to treat the condition, as well as preventing it in the future. Direct application of yogurt to the vagina can also be effective, as long as the yogurt is plain and unsweetened, with active cultures.
Left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can spread, infecting the fallopian tubes and potentially causing fertility problems in the future. Because of the potential for spreading and confusion with other conditions, seeing a doctor is crucial, as he or she can make sure that the right treatment is used. This condition also increases a woman's risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV, because the tissue is irritated and sensitive, making it even more paramount to seek medical treatment.