What is BV?
BV (Bacterial Vaginosis) also called Vaginitis is the most common vaginal condition affecting women ages 15-44, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can occur when the vagina fluids are not in balance (based on the pH scale). The imbalance can cause the overgrowth of bacteria and lead to infection and disease.
BV is not a STD (sexually transmitted disease)
Requires a medical diagnosis
Exact cause is unknown
BV is not contagious
Pregnant women with BV can deliver premature babies or low-birth weight babies
BV can increase your chance of getting an STD
BV occurs more in sexually active women and women with multiple sex partners
Do not know how sex causes BV
Do not completely understand how it is spread and how to prevent it
What is a pH Scale?
The pH scale is used to determine how strong a substance is on a scale from 0-14. The substance is classified as acidic, alkaline (basic or base), or neutral.
What Is a Normal Vaginal pH Level?
The vagina has normal bacteria and fluids to keep it healthy and in balance. The fluids are acidic and help to kill harmful bacteria, parasites and fungi.
The normal vaginal pH level ranges from 3.8 to 4.5 and varies depending on a woman's age. During woman's reproductive years, the normal range is from 4.0-4.5 and postmenopausal slighter over 4.5.
What Are the Symptoms of BV?
May or may not have symptoms
Thin, gray, white or green vaginal discharge (thick discharge in yeast infections)
Foul-smelling "fishy" vaginal odor especially after sex
Vaginal itching inside or outside of vagina
Pain, itching or burning in the vagina
Burning when urinating
What Are Some Possible Causes of BV?
Not using condoms during sex
New or multiple partners can upset the normal balance of vaginal "good" bacteria.
What Are Some Complications of BV?
BV can lead to these complications (if left untreated):
Pregnancy risk of preterm birth and low birth rate
Higher susceptibility to STDs
Pelvic inflammatory disease in the uterus and fallopian tubes
What Are the Treatments For BV?
BV is treated by antibiotics in pill or cream form and must be prescribed by a healthcare provider. There are no current home treatments that have been proven effective or safe.
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