Bacterial vaginosis is a mild infection of the vagina. There is good bacteria and bad bacteria in the vagina and usually, the good bacteria keeps things in balance. When bad bacteria dominate, bacterial vaginosis becomes a problem for women, especially during pregnancy. Bacterial vaginosis leads to infections, which if unchecked, can cause serious problems later on.
Bacterial vaginosis is common among women and shouldn’t be confused with sexually transmitted diseases. Bacterial vaginosis is usually associated with having sexual intercourse with multiple partners or an imbalance of bacterial flora in the vaginal area. Limiting the number of sexual partners one has or avoiding douching can reduce chances of bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy.
Bacterial vaginosis is fairly common during pregnancy, affecting around 30% of the population.
According to scientific studies, bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature rupturing of membranes in the body.
Bacterial vaginosis can occur in women who are having sexual intercourse for the very first time as well before pregnancy or conception.
One in five women develop bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy.
The primary causes of bacterial vaginosis are:
A recent study conducted to find the link between Vitamin D and bacterial vaginosis found that a deficiency of Vitamin D in pregnant women increased their chances of contracting a BV infectio n. This vitamin induces anti-bacterial proteins in the body and enhances killing of bad bacteria in various tissues of the body. However, more reasearch is required to establish this.
Most cases of bacterial vaginosis in some women show no signs or symptoms. Common symptoms for those with bacterial vaginosis (BV) include:
Bacterial vaginosis diagnosis begins with an inquiry about the patient’s medical history. Your doctor may ask whether you’ve had any previous infections or had any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
A pelvic exam is often performed where the doctor inserts two fingers into your vagina and checks for signs of infection, followed by pressing the abdominal region to check for signs of the disease.
You can take a sample of your vaginal secretions and let the doctor examine it through a microscope. Your doctor will check for overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in your vaginal flora and examine for ‘clue cells’ which are basically vaginal cells clouded by harmful bacteria.
Placing a pH strip in your vagina to examine acidity levels is another common way to diagnose bacterial vaginosis. A pH level of 4.5 and higher in the vagina is considered to be a case of bacterial vaginosis.
You will be screened for bacterial vaginosis (BV) even if you don’t exhibit any of the BV symptoms. However, screening for BV depends on your healthcare provider and several factors. If you’re at high risk for premature delivery, you may or may not be screened for BV.
Women who have experienced preterm labor previously will be screened for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy, irrespective of the lack of symptoms.
Here are some ways your pregnancy may be affected due to bacterial vaginosis (BV):
Bacterial vaginosis usually resolves on its own after pregnancy. Women with BV may have perfectly normal pregnancies as well – the link, however, is not clear. But it is important to note that having BV can make you susceptible to certain diseases after pregnancy, like Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and HIV. Women who aren’t pregnant but have BVmay be susceptible to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and infections after gynaecological surgeries.
You may be prescribed one of the following medications if you contract bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy:
This medicine is available as a topical gel which can be inserted into the vagina. You must avoid alcohol for one day after this treatment. Either way, it’s advisable to avoid consuming alcohol during pregnancy. This medication can be taken orally as well.
Your doctor may apply the clindamycin cream into the insides of your vagina. The cream has a tendency to weaken latex condoms.
This medicine is taken orally. Avoid alcohol consumption when on this medication as it can cause a stomach upset and nausea (you will be prohibited from drinking alcohol during pregnancy).
There are several home remedies for treating bacterial vaginosis too. If you’re wondering how to get rid of BV while pregnant, you can try the natural remedies listed below.
Yoghurt helps to build up the good or healthy bacteria in the vaginal area as it has been fermented by friendly bacteria like lactic acid. This can ward off bacteria, and over time, cure your BV condition. One serving a day is the recommended amount of consumption. However, processed yoghurt may not always contain live probiotics. Preparing yoghurt at home is the best way to get the benefit of active and live cultures.
Consult your doctor regarding the use of probiotic supplements during pregnancy. Your doctor may prescribe these herself if you have BV. These come in liquid as well as capsule/tablet form.
Taking garlic supplements can aid in fighting BV during pregnancy. Consult your doctor regarding the use of garlic supplements during pregnancy, or alternatively, whether you can add garlic to your diet.
Using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning the vagina daily can cure bacterial vaginosis. Consult a doctor since it can come with a few side-effects.
Mixing baking soda with bath water and soaking your vagina in it can prevent infections and clean your vagina. After a bath, you can remove moisture carefully from your groin area with a soft cloth
Mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil, olive oil, or sweet almond oil and applying topically is an effective remedy for bacterial vaginosis. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities which help combat infections.
Inculcating hygienic habits is the most foolproof way to prevent an infection. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Using condoms during intercourse times can reduce your chances of bacterial vaginosis. If you have multiple sexual partners, use condoms to decrease the risk of contracting BV. If you are trying to get pregnant, make sure that both of you have healed from any previous genital infection.
Underwear made from materials such as spandex trap moisture and create breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Wearing breathable cotton underwear is important as it can prevent harmful bacteria deposits and vaginal infections.
Always wipe from the front to the back after using the bathroom. Change your pad or tampon several times throughout the day to maintain hygiene. If you use organic tampons, make sure you change them at least thrice daily.
A healthy and nutritious diet can boost your immunity and prevent BV from recurring even after delivery. When you’re pregnant, make sure your diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential acids and micronutrients.
Douching means washing the vagina with water or other liquids to eliminate odour. If you’ve been doing this, you should stop it right away as you may be washing off the healthy bacteria from your vagina. The vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism and doesn’t need any external cleaning.
Scented soaps, bath oils and bubble bath liquids can deplete your vagina of its natural flora and make it susceptible to an infection like BV. Instead, just use plain water and your hands to gently wash your private parts.
Consider changing to a light workout that doesn’t make you sweat a lot. This, coupled with loose workout clothing, can keep vaginal infections at bay. Make sure you shower after you come home from a morning run or from the gym.
Although bacterial vaginosis can be a persistent and irritating condition, it does not pose any risk to your pregnancy. Stick to a healthy lifestyle to keep infections at bay.
This post was last modified on March 11, 2020 12:05 pm
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