Bacterial vaginosis is a swelling and irritation of the vaginal tissue.
Bacterial vaginosis appears to be caused by an overgrowth of several types of bacteria, some requiring oxygen while others do not. While these bacteria are normally present in the vagina, an overgrowth may cause symptoms of irritation and inflammation.
It is not known for sure what causes this condition. It is probably caused by an overgrowth of certain bacteria that are normally present in the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis that is left untreated or undiagnosed can cause more problems. For instance:
Symptoms of this condition can include:
A healthcare provider will perform a pelvic exam to obtain a sample of the vaginal discharge and look at it under the microscope. A blood test also will be done. The presence of special "clue cells" in the vaginal discharge, along with a high white blood cell count, suggest bacterial vaginosis.
It is not known how to prevent this condition. It is possible that abstinence or using condoms may help.
It is possible that this infection is spread by sexual intercourse.
The side effects of
After beginning treatment, symptoms usually go away within a few days. The infection recurs in 15% of women despite attempts at prevention and multiple treatment regimens.
Author:Eva Martin, MD
Editor:Cafiero, Celeste, MA
Reviewer:Sandy Keefe, RN, MSN