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Vaginal Bacterial Infection: 8 Triggers, 3 Symptoms & More Crucial Info On the Topic

Vaginal bacterial infection (vaginal bacteriosis, bacterial vaginosis) is diagnosed in 62-65% of female patients with inflammatory processes in reproductive organs and in 46% of pregnant women. Bacterial vaginosis is a risk factor for the development of serious pathologies in the reproductive tract. It’s considered that the disease can be sexually transmitted. At least statistics show that sexually active women get infected with bacterial vaginosis more frequently. Let’s highlight the most important facts in regards to this common female condition.

Roots of Bacterial Vaginosis

As a rule, the infection is associated with activity of bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis. It’s present in 50-60% of healthy women. A pathology is diagnosed when Gardnerella’s growth is accompanied by:

  • pH higher than 4,5
  • an increased amount of anaerobic organisms such as Peptostreptococcus and Bacteroides
  • a decreased amount of lactobacteria

Vaginal Bacterial Infection: What’s Tricky About It?

Bacterial vaginosis belongs to the group of 3 most common vaginal infections. Other two are yeast infections and trichomoniasis. Why are they united into one group? Initially because their symptoms are similar. At the same time, their causes and, especially, treatments differ.

Many women consider that they’ve got thrush and start self-treatment, when in reality they are affected by bacterial infection with the same symptoms which, however, can’t be treated with non-prescription yeast infection medications. The American Public Health Association reports that 70% of women usually treat bacterial infection in the vagina themselves before they finally have to visit a gynecologist. In most cases they believe they’ve got a yeast infection but tests show bacterial vaginosis.

Vaginal infection of bacterial origin isn’t a reason to guess what exactly causes your abnormal discharge. If the culprit is bacterial vaginosis, it has to be diagnosed professionally. In case of any suspicions on the subject contact your gynecologist immediately for accurate tests and the most efficient treatment.

Vaginal Infections: Mechanism of Development

Vaginal infections are caused by microorganisms, which normally inhabit vagina, yet in small strictly controlled amounts. Their growth is regulated and restricted by a special protective system – lactobacteria, attached to the mature vaginal lining. Under the influence of various causes, natural vaginal protection gets affected, and pathogenic microorganisms begin to propagate, which causes such unpleasant symptoms as itching, burning, abnormal discharge and others.

Vaginal Bacterial Infection: Symptoms

In about 50 to 85% of women the infection progresses asymptomatically. Most of them find out that they have bacterial infection at the annual gynecological exam. Others report such symptoms as:

  1. Abnormal homogenous transparent, cloudy, white, yellowish or grayish discharge, ranging in amount with specific fishy odor, intensifying during hygienic procedures (when soap is used) and after the intercourse.
  2. Pain during urination (possible)
  3. Vaginal itching and burning (can be absent)

Triggers of Bacterial Vaginosis

  1. Changes in the hormonal balance during pregnancy
  2. Poor immunity
  3. Antibiotics
  4. Long-tern usage of inter-uterine contraceptives
  5. Intestinal dysbacteriosis
  6. Irrational usage of intimate hygiene products
  7. Underlying diseases of endocrine system
  8. Stresses

Why You Shouldn’t Self-Treat Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. However, their usage without corresponding indications promotes formation of lasting bacteria. Besides, antibiotics often produce side effects, including dysbacteriosis, i.e. disorder of the qualitative and quantitative composition of microflora. Normal microflora doesn’t let pathogenic bacteria attach to the skin and mucous membranes, protecting us from infections. Uncontrolled usage of antibiotics destroys this natural protection. So we are getting into a circle: infection → antibiotics → dysbacteriosis → infection.

Vaginal bacterial infection is troublesome because bacteria can easily infect the uterus and Fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammation. If a woman gets infected during pregnancy, she is becoming more susceptible to miscarriages and infections after delivery than healthy women.