Last Updated on 20th April 2021
Are you wondering why bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common condition among pregnant women? Then this guide is for you. Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common infections that affect women during pregnancy. The infection occurs when a woman’s vagina replaces the normal hydrogen peroxide-producing Lactobacillus bacterial species with an anaerobic bacterium like Mobiluncus and Prevotella. This condition is prevalent in pregnant women due to the fluctuation of hormones in their bodies.
Many studies have shown that bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection. However, the infection rate is higher in sexually active women. When not detected and treated early, BV can cause the following conditions.
Risk of bacterial vaginosis
Although bacterial vaginosis is treatable, it can cause the following problems to pregnant women.
• This infection increases the risk of a pregnant mother giving birth to low birth weight and premature babies.
• Women with bacterial vaginosis have a higher risk of acquiring pelvic inflammatory disease. As a result, it causes a problem when one is trying to get pregnant later.
Common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis
Many pregnant women who have bacterial vaginosis may not show any symptoms, but the following are some common signs for those who are symptomatic with this infection.
• Vaginal itching and pain
• A burning sensation inside the vagina, especially during urination
• A thin grey, green or white vaginal discharge
• Foul-smelling vagina odor
It is advisable for a pregnant woman who experiences an abnormal vaginal discharge to seek further medical examination. In most cases, women who have this infection will experience a cloudy vaginal discharge. In some women, the discharge will have an odor, while on others, it will be odorless. Also, some women may experience a burning sensation when urinating, while others will feel itchy around their vagina.
When a further clinical examination on the discharge is complete, it discloses a layer of clue cells. The clinician may make additional observations to ascertain the existence of bacterial vaginosis. However, the infection is easy to diagnose using a gram stain of a vaginal smear combined with other clinical findings. However, many women who have odorless discharge are asymptomatic. The best indicator for bacterial vaginosis is to look out for any signs of abnormal vaginal discharge.
Treating bacterial vaginosis requires antibiotic therapy. This therapy typically uses metronidazole in pill form or as a gel applied intravaginally. Also, doctors might prescribe tinidazole and clindamycin to destroy the bacteria. During this treatment, patients should avoid alcoholic drinks 12 hours before treatment and 48 hours after treatment. Also, ensure that you complete the entire dose prescribed by your physician for the infection to clear and to prevent it from reoccurring.
It is important to note that vaginal health entails the presence of good bacteria. However, using antibiotics might eradicate both the good and harmful bacteria, causing your body to have a vaginal imbalance. This is part of the reason that the condition may recur.
How can you reduce the risk of getting of acquiring Bacterial Vaginosis?
The following are five things you can do to protect yourself from getting this infection.
• Avoid sex
Although bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection, having sex increases the chances of getting it. However, to reduce the chances of having the infection, it is advisable to have sex with only one person who does not have sex with multiple partners.
• Don’t douche
Several studies show that douching removes normal bacteria that protect your vagina from infections.
• Warm water
Always clean the outside of a vagina with warm, clean water, and don’t use any soap. And when wiping, start from the front to back.
Bacterial vaginosis is a common health condition in pregnant women and can lead to serious complications. However, when detected, this infection is treatable with antibiotics. During this treatment, it important to avoid sex until you complete your dose and your irritation stops. If not treated, the infection can easily spread and can affect the well-being of the unborn child.