Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that requires treatment by a physician

Bacterial vaginosis is a common, mild vaginal infection that is caused by an overgrowth of anaerobes, a certain type of bacteria. If left untreated, this infection can lead to more serious health complications; however, our San Antonio OBGYNs can provide diagnosis and treatment.

What are the symptoms?

Some women who have bacterial vaginosis don’t have any symptoms, but most will experience one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Light to heavy vaginal discharge that is clear, gray or milky white in color and thin, watery or foamy in texture, with a sometimes strong, fishy smell that intensifies after sexual intercourse.
  • Burning during urination
  • Vaginal area irritation, including pain, burning and itching

What causes bacterial vaginosis?

The vaginal environment naturally contains a balance of good bacteria and harmful bacteria. When an imbalance occurs, and there are too many harmful bacteria present, bacterial vaginosis occurs.

Women who aren’t having sexual intercourse rarely get this infection, but it can happen. However, it is impossible to get this infection from surfaces such as sheets or toilet seats.

Which factors increase a woman’s risk?

Researchers have determined that certain factors increase a woman’s risk of getting this common infection.

  • Sexual intercourse with a new partner and/or multiple sexual partners
  • Douching
  • Oral sex without the protection of condoms or dental dams
  • Intrauterine devices, especially if they are causing irregular bleeding

In addition, pregnant women are more susceptible to this infection, and African-American women are two times more likely than white women to get the infection.

Lowering your risk

Bacterial vaginosis is not entirely preventable, but our San Antonio OBGYNs urge women to adopt certain practices to help lower their risk.

Maintain balance. It’s important to maintain the natural bacterial balance in the vagina by avoiding douches, soap or products containing deodorants in the vaginal area. Women should also wear cotton or cotton-crotch underwear and wipe from front to back.

Practice safe sex. Tips to avoid bacterial vaginosis include using condoms or dental dams; limiting the number of sexual partners; getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and avoiding unsafe sex.

Professional diagnosis and treatment is vital

To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, our San Antonio OBGYNs perform a pelvic examination and obtain a vaginal discharge sample for testing. The infection is treated with oral medication and/or vaginal creams or gels.

Our team wants to emphasize the importance of treating this infection. Left untreated, the infection can lead to serious complications.

  • If the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes or the uterus, it may become more serious.
  • Untreated infection increases a woman’s risk of contracting STIs.
  • During pregnancy, this untreated infection can cause premature birth.

Bacterial vaginosis requires medical treatment. Contact us for an appointment.