People sometimes mistake Vaginosis for a yeast infection. Like all sexually transmitted diseases protecting yourself is the key to prevention. So here are the 9 things you must know about Vaginosis!
1. Vaginosis is a disease of the vagina caused by bacteria and can be sexually transmitted from partner to partner by going directly from anal to vaginal intercourse without changing the condom or washing, the sharing of sexual toys, or by not wiping properly after defecating.
2. Vaginosis is the most frequent infection in women of child bearing and it is seen often in women who are pregnant in the United States.
3. If a woman has Vaginosis it may increase her risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and may increase her partner’s susceptibility of contracting her sexually transmitted disease including Herpes, Chlamydia, Syphilis, and HIV. An increased number of sexual partners can also increase your risk for Vaginosis.
4. The symptoms of Vaginosis include an odorous vaginal discharge. The discharge can be white, yellow, or gray. Women describe the smell as “fishy” and they say the odor is the strongest after sex. Women who have Vaginosis may experience burning during urination and an itching on the external surfaces of the vagina.
5. Women who have had C-sections, abortions, or hysterectomies are more likely to contract Vaginosis.
6. Studies have found that women who smoke are at a higher risk for contracting Vaginosis.
7. Women who douche regularly are at risk for contracting Vaginosis. When women douche they disrupt the balance between helpful and harmful bacteria found in the vagina. For example one the bacteria found in the vagina, Lactobacillus, produces hydrogen peroxides and actually protects the vagina from bad bacteria.
8. Treatments for Vaginosis can either be taken orally or vaginally. A drug that can be taken orally or as a vaginal gel is Metronidazole (Flagyl). Metronidazole kills anaerobic bacteria that live in low oxygen environments like the vagina. Metronidazole is used to treat Vaginosis by taking once daily for five days or longer as prescribed by your doctor. Whenever taking Metronidazole it’s important not to take alcohol or you can have serious side effects. Side effects include chest pain, dizziness, and can lower your blood pressure. A mistake that some women make is not taking all the antibiotics prescribed by their doctor. If they don’t the bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotic prescribed.
9. It’s very important that pregnant women who have bacterial Vaginosis seek treatments. Women with bacterial Vaginosis can give birth prematurely or have a child with a low birth weight. This is because bacterial Vaginosis can infect the uterus and could potentially cause an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside of the womb) Also women who are nursing and have bacterial Vaginosis should never take an oral pill, only a vaginal gel.
To review: Obsessive cleaning is ultimately bad for the overall health of the vagina. Smoking, which we know is bad anyway for so many reasons, should be stopped. And if a woman thinks she has Vaginosis, she shouldn’t be embarrassed especially by something that can be treated so easily.