- Women's Health
Is Bacterial Vaginosis Contagious?
Many women (and men) wonder if they are capable of passing BV to their sexual partners. Though there is no doubt about the fact that BV is NOT a STD or sexually transmitted disease, BV is however an infection that CAN be transmitted from one sexual partner to the another.
Bacterial Vaginosis is a kind of vaginal infection that is caused due to some unhealthy bacteria overpowering the healthy ones. In addition, a woman should remember that medical science till date has not been able to detect if men suffer from BV as they do not show any possible signs and symptoms like women. Moreover, they do not have genital organs like vagina to have the infection. However, definitely the re- occurrence of the disease says that BV can be passed on from one partner to another and you are re-infected after having sex.
The most common symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis are:
- Burning sensation in and around the vagina and vulvar area.
- Grey or white colored (usually thick) discharge.
- Fishy odor of the discharge.
- Irritation in the vaginal area (especially after intercourse) accompanied by itchiness.
The kind of pain and irritation Bacterial Vaginosis causes is difficult to describe. It irritates your vagina and a burning sensation encircles its walls. It also leads to vaginal discharge in many women, especially after having intercourse and the odour of the discharge is the most unpleasing.
BV Risk Factors (What may cause BV):
Risk factors that may predispose patients to BV include the following:
- Recent antibiotic use
- Wearing an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Decreased estrogen production of the host
- Sexual activity that result in transmission (eg, new sexual partner or recent increase in number of sexual partners)
General ways to treat or manage Bacterial Vaginosis
It is advisable to treat BV as soon as possible. Also, for women who have received treatment for BV should try to manage so that BV does not re-occur.
- BV occurring in pregnant women should not be left untreated. If left untreated it can cause pre-term labor.
- It is also recommended that BV be treated before undergoing procedures like total abdominal hysterectomy, cesarean delivery and/or IUD insertion.
- Uncomplicated/newly developed cases may get resolved after one course of standard antibiotic treatment.
- In case BV does not resolve through one antibiotics course, doctors may advise another course but this they may switch the agent (eg, from metronidazole to clindamycin or from clindamycin to metronidazole).
- Stop douching or using scented/bubble bath and/or any other OTC vaginal hygiene products.
- Only use hypoallergenic bar soaps. In fact, it'd be far better to avoid any soap, liquid soaps and body washes.
A downside long term antibiotic regime treatment is that it may alter the vaginal flora and predispose the patient to development of vaginal candidiasis! So, it would be like out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Natural Vaginosis cures can be a great option for people who can stick to them and practice them regularly.
1. Tea Tree Oil (Miracle Oil) Is A Natural Method of Getting Relief From BV
Tea tree oil should not be used generously on the sensitive vaginal area. Instead soak upper half of tampons or put 10-12 drop of the oil in bath water and sit in it for 20-30 minutes (or use ready made pressants instead). Tea tree oil gets best results when used in conjuction with other ingredients of the treatment regime (yogurt, apple cider vinegar).
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Is Great For Replenishing The Flora of Vagina
Use 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar in bath water and soak in it in order to reduce toxins from your body. This will improve chance of avoiding re-occurence of BV.
3. Yogurt (oral as well as external application) Works Well For Many Women With BV
Yogurt contains the lactobacilli bacteria. This way the missing lactobacilli in the vagina can be replenished.Eat at least 2 cups of yogurt everyday. You can even soak a tampon with it and insert in the vagina.
Diet Plays An Important Part
Poor diet plays a great role in causing re-occurrence of vaginosis.The body's lowered immunity plays a major role in causing occurrence and re-occurence of BV.
Meat like pork, chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, beef, seafood, should be avoided or limited. They should be prepared in a very hygienic and oil free manner. Other foods like cheese, refined sugar, chemical preservatives aggravat bacterial infections. Whenever possible, use only fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables and whole grains foods. Keeping yourself hydrated not only gives your skin a glow but also flushes out all the harmful toxins from the body. Consuming fresh vegetable juices which can preferably contain parsley, cilantro, garlic, and ginger which are natural antibiotics can be especially helpful for treatment of BV. Here are some recipes that you can use. Food that is natural improves the flora of your vagina so one should try to use as much natural foods as possible. Also, veggies should not be overcooked and eaten raw whenever possible.
Is BV Really Transferable?
Unfortunately, not even your doctor can tell you if you can get Bacterial Vaginosis after having intercourse. Just as no research can show that men do not have BV, similarly no study proves that your sexual partner is not capable of transferring the bacteria to your body, consequently re-infecting you.
It is understood that the kind of bacteria that causes BV can survive only in women and though it does get transferred to the male genitalia during intercourse, it has slim chances of surviving there. In the off chance that it does survive on a man's organs, the causes of re-occurence of BV in women increases greatly after treatment because the bacteria is again transferred back to the women's vagina and this time it is like time it may be more aggressive.
If you problem is coming back again and again, explain to your partner that he could be the reason for BV to affect you again and again and come to an understanding that you have to take all measures to eliminate it. It could be through natural cure or by doctor prescribed medication.
Remember that it will not take you long to get rid of Bacterial Vaginosis. Just don’t give up hope and continue one of the many treatments.