There are both “good” and “bad” bacteria that exist in the vagina at any time. The good bacteria called Lactobacilli hold the anaerobes, the bad bacteria, in balance. When this balance is lost and anaerobes dominate, bacterial vaginosis develops.
Though it’s not fully understood why, BV often occurs when a woman has a new sex partner. Multiple and same-sex partners also seem to carry increased risk for BV. Douching may also precipitate an upset of bacterial balance, and this risk increases in women who douche more often. The vagina has its own cleaning system, so excess douching isn’t necessary. Some women naturally lack sufficient lactobacilli and are more prone to BV.
Some women show few or no BV symptoms. In others, it may be hard to miss. Common symptoms include:
It’s time to contact Gemini OBGYN about your symptoms if:
Three medications are typically used to clear up BV. Metronidazole comes in pill form or as a gel administered vaginally. Clindamycin cream is also used in the vagina. Note that it may weaken latex condoms during and shortly after the treatment period. Tinidazole is an oral medication that works much like metronidazole. Both oral drugs may cause stomach upset and nausea, and patients should avoid alcohol while taking all of these medications.
Completing the full, prescribed course of medication is key to preventing recurrence, even if symptoms subside before the treatment period ends. It’s common for BV to reoccur, despite effective treatment. There may be some benefit to eating foods with lactobacilli, such as probiotic yogurts, but research is not yet conclusive.