Bacterial Vaginosis, or BV for short, is a bacterial infection that occurs in women around their vagina. Some consider it to be a sexually transmitted disease, but it really just happens when the natural bacteria that a woman has becomes unbalanced in some way. When the bacteria are out of balance, different reactions occur and this can cause a woman a lot of stress. Although BV is not a dangerous condition to have, it can be an unpleasant condition to have in a number of ways.
Statistics on Bacterial Vaginosis
1. The percentage of women who have been found to have BV, but had no reported symptoms: 84%.
2. 18% of the women who get bacterial vaginosis every year have not had any oral, anal, or vaginal sex in their lifetime.
3. Minority women have a higher risk of developing BV. African American risks are twice that of Caucasian women of European descent.
4. The prevalence of BV increases based on lifetime number of sexual partners.
5. About 21 million women under the age of 49 suffer from an outbreak of BV at least once per year.
6. Having BV can increase a woman’s chance of getting an STD.
7. Pregnant women with BV may deliver premature or low birth-weight babies.
8. The chance that a woman will have BV over the course of the year: 1 in 424.
9. In the United States, as many as 16% of pregnant women have BV.
10. BV is the most common cause of vaginal discharge that is considered to be abnormal.
11. It is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15-44.
12. Having BV can increase the chances of getting HIV or other STDs when it is present.
13. If you have BV and HIV, it increases the chances of virus transmission during sexual contact.
14. It is not possible to get BV from a toilet seat, bedding, or touching objects that are around you.
15. BV is a leading cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, which can create an infection that can interfere with a woman’s reproductive system.
16. The main symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are vaginal discharge and odor.
17. Treatment options for bacterial vaginosis include oral antibiotics and vaginal gels.
18. Recurrence of BV is possible, even after successful treatment. It is easier to have BV after an infection has occurred.
19. The percentage of women who have an STD and also have BV: 60%.
20. Studies have shown that approximately 29% of women in the U.S. are affected.
There are a number of bacteria that can be found in the vagina that are supposed to be there. They support the environment much like healthy bacteria in the digestive tract support nutrient absorption. When a woman starts taking an antibiotic or may use cleansers that have antiseptic qualities to them, however, some of those healthy bacteria can die off. That’s what starts the foundation of a BV diagnosis.
Although having multiple sexual partners in a short amount of time has been documented as a risk factor for the development of BV, as has having a new sexual partner, there are non-sexual risk factors as well. Using a douche regularly, smoking, or even implanted birth control devices have been known to cause the bacteria to get out of balance. You don’t have to be sexually active to suffer from the symptoms of BV.
It is fairly common to mistake BV for a yeast infection. Many women will purchase over the counter remedies to eliminate the symptoms that they are facing, only to find that it isn’t quite working as it should. If a yeast infection treatment hasn’t cleared up the problem, then there is a chance that you might have BV. That means it may be time to talk to a doctor about the problems you are facing.
Suffering from Bacterial Vaginosis
The good news is that if you do have BV, you probably don’t know it. Depending on your lifestyle, that could also be the bad news as well.
As with any STI or STD, the best way to heal or prevent further infections is to stop having sex. If that is just not possible or wanted, then practicing safe sex, including the use of condoms, can help reduce the risks of future complications. If you suspect that you might have bacterial vaginosis, then it is important to see your doctor right away. You will likely be prescribed an antibiotic cream or other medication to help relieve the signs and symptoms of the disease.
For women who do have symptoms with their BV infection, the most common symptom is of an unpleasant odor that is best described as “fishy.” If there is discharge associated with the infection, it will usually be a whitish, almost gray color. The odor and the discharge also become more noticeable when there has been sexual intercourse.
BV is not considered a condition that is contagious. How the bacteria are transmitted or get out of balance, however, is not completely understood. Because it is found in sexually active women with multiple partners and women who are completely celibate, there must be undiscovered risk factors that also play a role in the development of this infection. If you are a woman, then you are at risk of developing BV.
Bacterial vaginosis is not something that is going to affect the long-term quality of a woman’s life. Most women don’t even know they have it and their BV ends up resolving on its own. A doctor can provide you with simple treatment solutions if the symptoms of BV become bothersome and most women end up returning to their regular lifestyle within several days. Because it can be easier to get another BV infection after one has resolved, it is important to limit the known risk factors. By treating an infection quickly, BV can stop being a worry, and the statistics back that up.