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Definition: Vaginosis

Vaginosis - is a common vaginal infection caused by bacteria which are common in the vagina, but have “overgrown” due to changes in the acid/alkaline balance of the vagina. It is also known as BV or bacterial vaginosis. None of these have serious long-term complications. They are regarded as “nuisance infections”, although they may be quite uncomfortable. You may want to see your doctor who will probably take a smear to confirm their diagnosis. Most doctors take one look at, or smell the discharge and they know what it is.

Normally the vagina is acidic, this keeps these bacteria or spores under control. But if a female is on the Birth Control Pill, Patch or Nuva Ring, the hormones cause the acid/alkaline balance to shift. If she douches, (washes out the vagina after sex or after a period) the vagina becomes neutral and vulnerable. Antibiotics kill off the normal vaginal bacteria, almost guaranteeing a yeast or other infection. Menopause may also change the cervical mucous so that she is vulnerable to infection. Bacterial vaginosis can be sexually transmitted.

Symptoms vary and include yeast which produces a thick, white, creamy odourless discharge that leaves a woman's genitals red, raw, sore, itchy and urination may be painful. Trichomonas and Gardnerella have a thin, yellow, grey-green, foamy, mucous discharge that smells like dead fish.

Vaginosis is treated with antibiotics, which are medicines prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may give you either metronidazole or clindamycin. Generally, male sex partners of women with vaginosis do not need to be treated. You can get vaginosis again even after being treated.

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