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Bacterial vaginosis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Bacterial vaginosis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Bacterial vaginosis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused mainly by Gardnerella vaginalis, a bacteria that develops when there is a decrease in the amount of good bacteria in the vagina. However, vaginosis can also be caused by the overgrowth of any other vaginal bacteria.

The most common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include intense itching, burning when urinating, a foul smell, and pasty white discharge, which can also be yellowish or gray in color.

Although it can cause a lot of discomfort, vaginosis can be easily treated with the use of antibiotics and, therefore, it is important to go to the gynecologist to identify the problem and start the appropriate treatment, which involves the use of antibiotics, according to the doctor's guidance.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

The main symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are:

  • Intense vaginal itching;
  • White-gray discharge;
  • Foul-smelling vaginal odor, similar to rotten fish;
  • Burning sensation when urinating.

Many cases of bacterial vaginosis may also not lead to the appearance of any signs or symptoms, being identified only during consultation with the gynecologist or after performing a vaginal secretion exam.

In cases where symptoms are identified, they are more frequent after sexual intercourse and before or after the menstrual period.

Main causes

Bacterial vaginosis occurs due to an imbalance of the vaginal microbiota, which is mainly composed of lactobacilli, also known as Doderlein bacilli, whose main function is to maintain the acidic pH of the vagina, preventing the occurrence of diseases.Learn more about Doderlein's bacilli.

Thus, when a woman performs vaginal douching excessively, has frequent sexual intercourse, has several sexual partners, is a carrier of a sexually transmitted infection, uses an intrauterine device (IUD) or is in her menstrual period, it is It is possible to have a decrease in the number of Doderlein bacilli, which favors the growth of bacteria found in smaller amounts in the bacterial flora, such as Gardnerella sp., mainly Prevotella sp., Mycoplasma sp. and Ureaplasma sp., for example, characterizing vaginosis.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis is usually made through a preventive exam, also called a pap smear, in a routine exam, or when performing a vaginal secretion exam, which must be requested by the gynecologist, when the woman reports disease symptoms, for example. However, some women may have vaginosis but not have symptoms, the infection being discovered during consultation with the gynecologist, through the evaluation of signs and symptoms presented.

To conclude the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis, the diagnostic criteria considered are:

  • Large homogeneous white vaginal discharge;
  • Vaginal secretion with a pH greater than 4.5;
  • Identification of rotten fish odor, especially when mixing vaginal secretions with 10% KOH solution;
  • Identification of the presence of bacteria and alteration in the characteristics of epithelial cells, which are called clue cells, visualized microscopically, and which are normally present in cases of vaginosis by Gardnerella sp.

The gynecologist may also recommend performing a urinalysis or urine culture to confirm vaginosis. Thus, after diagnosis, the doctor can indicate the most appropriate treatment, which usually involves the use of antibiotics.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for bacterial vaginosis is usually done with the use of antibiotics, such as metronidazole, which can be applied directly to the site, in the form of ointments or eggs, or tablets for oral ingestion.Antibiotics should be used for 7 days or as recommended by the gynecologist and should not be interrupted as symptoms improve.

During the treatment, it is still recommended to use condoms in all relationships and avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages. See how vaginosis is treated.

Furthermore, to prevent the onset of bacterial vaginosis, it is recommended not to douche, use condoms in all intercourse, restrict the number of partners, avoid tight clothing, give preference to cotton panties and perform exams at least once a year.

Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis

In most cases, bacterial vaginosis does not cause major complications, however, in people with a weakened immune system, it can:

  • Infecting the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease, also known as PID;
  • Increase the probability of infection by AIDS, in cases of exposure to the virus;
  • Increase a woman's chances of being infected with other sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.

In addition, in the case of pregnant women, this type of infection can also increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth or the newborn being born with below average weight. Learn more about bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy.

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