Bacterial vaginosis is a very common vaginal infection that often affects women of childbearing age. It is caused by an alteration of the normal bacterial flora present in the vagina, the so-called saprophytic flora, which protects the mucous membrane of the vagina from external aggressions. The “good” bacteria that populate the vagina are Lactobacilli, which manage to keep the vaginal environment slightly acidic, with a pH of about 3.8-4.5. This acidity is the enemy of pathogens and therefore helps to avoid contracting infections.
What are the causes of bacterial vaginosis?
The process that triggers it is known, but the causes have not yet been fully identified by the scientific world. The prevailing hypothesis is that it depends on a series of contributing causes, which create a situation for which one contracts vaginosis. When these circumstances occur, some bacteria are free to proliferate, causing this infection.
However, there are risk behaviors that can increase the chances of contracting bacterial vaginosis. Having unprotected sex with multiple partners are two major risk factors.
Overdoing douching or using harsh intimate cleansers, but also using contraceptive methods such as the IUD can increase the chances of vaginosis. Stress can also affect the immune system or taking antibiotics, especially for prolonged periods.
What are the symptoms?
In half of the cases it is asymptomatic. The most important symptom is the presence of grayish-white, rather fluid and foul-smelling vaginal discharge, which are called foul-smelling leukorrhea and remember the smell of fish.
Sometimes it is accompanied by itching, burning and pain in sexual intercourse.
It is important to treat it well and immediately to avoid complications, which are not direct. However, bacterial imbalance can increase vaginal pH, increasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
How is bacterial vaginosis treated?
Vaginosis can go away on its own. In the presence of symptoms, however, it is necessary to contact your gynecologist who will decide if antibiotic therapy is appropriate. At the same time, it is advisable to take products that contain lactobacilli to restore the normal ecosystem. It is important to avoid eating simple sugars. It is advised to avoid sexual intercourse until complete recovery.
Among the risk factors is oral sex
Now a new study points the finger at oral sex. A common bacterium that is usually found in the mouth of those with gum problems can promote bacterial vagitosis. This is the Fusobacterium nucleatum. The results were published in the scientific journal PLoS Biology.