What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused by disruption of normal flora balance in the vagina infection. But in patients with bacterial vaginosis, the number of good bacteria in the vagina is reduced so it is not able to fight infection. Bacterial vaginosis can be experienced by women of all ages. However, most bacterial vaginosis occurs when women are in reproductive age, which is 15-44 years of age. Bacterial vaginosis includes mild infection, but if left untreated can lead to sexually transmitted infections and complications during pregnancy.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
The cause of bacterial vaginosis is the presence of overgrowth of certain bacteria, thus disrupting the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina. There are two types of bacteria in the vagina, namely good bacteria and bad bacteria. Good bacteria is the bacterium L actobacillus which serves to limit the growth of bad bacteria by maintaining normal pH or vaginal acidity level. This bacterium dominates the amount of bacteria in the vagina, which is about 95%.

In addition, there are also bad bacteria, namely anaerobic bacteria. When the number of good bacteria decreases, the growth of anaerobic bacteria will be excessive resulting in bacterial vaginosis.

The exact cause of disruption of bacterial growth in the vagina is not known for certain. However, a number of factors are thought to increase the risk of women experiencing bacterial vaginosis, including:
  • Smoke.
  • Frequent sexual partners and do not use condoms.
  • Decrease of bacteria L actobacillus naturally.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis often causes no symptoms. But in some women, the main symptom of bacterial vaginosis is vaginal discharge . Whitish has a watery texture and gray or white. Whitish also emit a fishy smell, especially when menstruating or having sex with a partner.

In addition, there are other symptoms that may appear, such as vaginal itching and pain, and sore when urinating. Immediately consult your doctor when experiencing these symptoms.

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Diagnosis of Bacterial Vaginosis
The first step of an obstetrician to diagnose bacterial vaginosis is to ask about the medical history, lifestyle, and symptoms of the patient. In addition, your doctor may perform other tests to confirm the diagnosis. These checks include:
  • Vaginal examination. The doctor will examine the inside of the vagina with the help of a device called a speculum to dilate the vagina.
  • Examination of the acidity (pH) of the vagina. The doctor will put the pH paper in the patient's vagina, the normal pH of the vagina is 3,8-4,5. In patients with bacterial vaginosis, the vaginal pH usually rises above 4.5.
  • Examination of samples of vaginal secretions. Samples of whitish liquid taken with a swab procedure, then examined in the laboratory to detect the growth of excess anaerobes in the vagina.

Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is usually treated by antibiotics, either in the form of tablets or tablets inserted into the vagina (ovula). Antibiotics can kill bacteria that cause symptoms of this disease.

For some cases, bacterial vaginosis may be lost without treatment. However, if symptoms persist, it will be dangerous because it can cause the reproductive organs vulnerable to infection or inflammation. Doctors will give antibiotics, if:
  • Symptoms persist.
  • Symptoms appear during pregnancy.
  • Will undergo pelvic area surgery procedures, such as hysterectomy or removal of the uterus. Antibiotic treatment will reduce the risk of serious infections that may occur postoperatively.
Some commonly used antibiotics include:
  • Metronidazole. The most commonly used and effective antibiotic drug to treat bacterial vaginosis. Metronidazole is available in the form of tablets taken and ovules. These drugs have side effects, including nausea , abdominal pain, and decreased appetite. To avoid the more severe side effects, do not consume alcoholic beverages during treatment with metronidazole. Make sure you always follow the doctor's instructions when taking this drug.
  • Clindamycin. This medicine is in the form of drinking tablets. Clindamycin is usually consumed if adverse side effects occur when taking tablet metronidazole.
Treatment of bacterial vaginosis usually lasts at least one week. Do not stop treatment until the doctor gives instructions to stop. This is done to prevent re-infection occurs.

Bacterial Vaginosis Complications
Bacterial vaginosis usually does not cause complications. However, if left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can cause serious complications that include:
  • Complications in pregnancy. Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis have a risk of preterm birth and increase the risk of high rates of infection after delivery.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease. Pelvic inflammation (PID) is an inflammatory disease of the uterus and ovaries that can decrease fertility.
  • Sexually transmitted infections. Bacterial vaginosis increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes simplex virus , chlamydia, and HIV.
  • Infection after surgery. Bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of postoperative pelvic infections, such as hysterectomy or caesarean section .

Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis
The main step to prevent bacterial vaginosis is to keep the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Several ways that can be done to maintain the balance of these bacteria, among others:
  • Do not flush or clean the vagina with a water spray , as it can remove good bacteria that protect the vagina from infection. If the bacteria is lost, it increases the risk of bacterial vaginosis.
  • Reduces risk of vaginal irritation. The risk of vaginal irritation can be reduced by:
    • Avoid using soap with a perfume content to clean the outside of the vagina.
    • Use cotton underwear and do not wash underwear using laundry soap with harsh chemical content.
    • Use bandages without fragrance content.
  • Prevent sexually transmitted infections. Have safe sexual intercourse, for example by not changing multiple partners, or by using condoms during intercourse.
These precautions can reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis. Immediately contact your doctor if you feel the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, especially for those who are pregnant. Early diagnosis and treatment will help prevent complications.

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